ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues found themselves in unfamiliar territory Sunday afternoon -- with a lead.
Stempniak gave the Blues some insurance when he scored early in the third period. Rucinsky, who scored twice on the day, then closed the door with an empty net goal with four seconds left as the Blues snapped a three-game losing skid by beating the Edmonton Oilers 5-3 Sunday afternoon.
The Blues have made a habit of falling behind by two or more goals, then battling back. Blues forward Keith Tkachuk, for one, did not mind being on the other end.
"We've come back a lot," Tkachuk said. "But we've shot ourselves too much in the foot. It's nice playing a 5-on-5 and not playing catch-up for a change.
Stempniak said that he noticed a difference in the Blues' style of play.
"We played with desperation all afternoon," said Stempniak, who also had an assist. "In the past, we'd get down by a couple of goals and then come out and play with a lot desperation and urgency. We're a much better team when we do that all game and we showed it today."
St. Louis led 3-2 early in the third period when Stempniak gave the Blues some insurance. He took a pass from Tkachuk, skated down left wing and lifted a backhander over Edmonton goalie Jussi Markkanen.
"I knew there was pressure coming from the back," Stempniak said. "I just wanted to use a boost off of him and get a shot"
Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said that goal was a back-breaker.
"That fourth goal hurt us getting back in the game, and we've seemingly done that a lot this year," MacTavish said.
"The game isn't rocket science. It's a simple game; you get it in deep, you don't make mistakes and you support one another."
Pisani did cut the advantage in half with a power-play goal with 3:32 remaining, but Rucinsky put the game away with his empty-net goal.
The Blues briefly had a two-goal advantage in the second period. Rucinsky gave the Blues a 2-1 lead when he beat Markkanen with a wrist shot from the left circle at the two-minute mark. McClement made it 3-1 when he swatted home the rebound of Eric Brewer's shot at 18:39 of the period.
But Winchester got the Oilers back in it before the period was over with his second goal. Winchester broke into the St. Louis zone and surprised Sanford, who was screened by Brewer, with a wrist shot from between the circles with 4.6 seconds left.
A similar event occurred in the first period when Salvador gave the Blues a 1-0 advantage on a slap shot from the left point at the 14:03 mark. Just 42 seconds later, Winchester tied it at 1-1 off a scramble for a loose puck in front of Sanford.
|St. Louis' Lee Stempniak scores over Jussi Markkanen's shoulder for a third-period goal. (AP)|
|St. Louis (5-8-3) «||1||2||2||5|
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|14:03||Bryce Salvador (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Lee Stempniak, Petr Cajanek|
|14:45||Brad Winchester (2), Slap Shot - Assists: Patrick Thoresen, Marty Reasoner|
|02:00||Martin Rucinsky (4), Wrist Shot - Assist: Bill Guerin|
|18:39||Jay McClement, Wrist Shot - Assists: Eric Brewer, Radek Dvorak|
|19:55||Brad Winchester (3), Wrist Shot - Assist: Shawn Horcoff|
|06:08||Lee Stempniak (8), Wrist Shot - Assists: Keith Tkachuk, Eric Brewer|
|16:38||Power Play - Fernando Pisani (3), Tip-In - Assists: Daniel Tjarnqvist, Shawn Horcoff|
|19:47||Martin Rucinsky (5), Empty Net - Unassisted.|
|05:20||Walker: Hooking - 2 min.|
|17:42||Pisani: Hooking - 2 min.|
|04:42||Sykora: Interference - 2 min.|
|06:11||Cajanek: Interference with goal tender. - 2 min.|
|08:10||Salvador: Delay of Game - 2 min.|
|09:35||Horcoff: Interference - 2 min.|
|09:35||Jackman: Diving - 2 min.|
|13:54||McClement: Slashing - 2 min.|
|07:39||Stoll: Holding - 2 min.|
|14:39||Brewer: Hooking - 2 min.|
|SHOTS ON GOAL|
|Attendance - 9214|
|Game Time - 60:00|
|Referees - Paul Devorski, Greg Kimmerly|
|Line Judges - Lonnie Cameron, Brad Lazarowich|