ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Blues found themselves in unfamiliar territory Sunday afternoon - with a lead.
But thanks to Lee Stempniak and Martin Rucinsky, things turned out OK.
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 4 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.
Bryce Salvador and Jay McClement also scored for St. Louis, which won for the second time in its last eight games. Back-up goalie Curtis Sanford made 31 saves for the Blues.
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."
Rookie Brad Winchester scored twice for the Oilers. Fernando Pisani had the other Edmonton goal.
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 2-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 the game 1-1 off a scramble for a loose puck in front of Sanford.
Notes: St. Louis begins a five-game road trip starting in Calgary on Tuesday night and will not return to the Scottrade Center until Nov. 25. ... Winchester has three goals in his last four games. ... Rucinsky's first goal was his first since Oct. 17. ... Blues defenseman Matt Walker left the game with a groin strain and did not return.
|Bryce Salvador (2) ASST: Lee Stempniak (5), Petr Cajanek (9)|
1 - 0 STL
|Brad Winchester (2) ASST: Patrick Thoresen (6), Marty Reasoner (4)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Martin Rucinsky (4) ASST: Bill Guerin (5)|
2 - 1 STL
|Jay McClement (1) ASST: Eric Brewer (3), Radek Dvorak (6)|
3 - 1 STL
|Brad Winchester (3) ASST: Shawn Horcoff (5)|
3 - 2 STL
|Lee Stempniak (8) ASST: Keith Tkachuk (12), Eric Brewer (4)|
4 - 2 STL
|PPG - Fernando Pisani (3) ASST: Daniel Tjarnqvist (6), Shawn Horcoff (6)|
4 - 3 STL
|EN - Martin Rucinsky (5) ASST: NONE|
5 - 3 STL
|Matt Walker Hooking|
|Fernando Pisani Hooking|
|Petr Sykora Interference|
|Petr Cajanek Interference on goalkeeper|
|Bryce Salvador Delay of game|
|Barret Jackman Diving|
|Shawn Horcoff Interference|
|Jay McClement Slashing|
|Jarret Stoll Holding|
|Eric Brewer Hooking|