EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) -The suddenly surging St. Louis Blues are even winning on the road.
Dallas Drake scored the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, Manny Legace made 24 saves and the Blues beat the New Jersey Devils 3-2 Wednesday night for their second victory in as many nights on the road. On Tuesday, the Blues captured a 4-3 shootout victory in Columbus.
Keith Tkachuk and Dan Hinote also scored for the Blues and Legace held off the Devils in the third period, stopping all 13 shots including Brian Rafalski's slapper through a screen in the final seconds.
"I went down and it hit me," Legace said. "I didn't see it. I went down and took away the lower part of the net. There were about nine bodies and he always seems to get the puck to the net every single time."
After a disastrous start to the season, St. Louis has won eight of its last 11.
"We weren't very good at the beginning of the year," Legace said. "We made a coaching change and put in a system that the boys can do. It seems to be working for us and we're trusting each other."
Andy Murray, who took over when Mike Kitchen was fired as coach on Dec. 11, got another resilient effort from his team. Against Columbus, the Blues came back from three one-goal deficits. In the Devils game, the Blues twice trailed by a goal.
"It shows that you can do it, if you stay with it," Murray said. "The percentages say the team that scores the first goal usually wins. You don't want to have to do it too often. We've done it two nights in a row so that should be enough for now."
John Madden and Brian Gionta scored for the Devils, who had won three in a row. New Jersey coach Claude Julien felt his team was flat all night.
"For two periods, they kept taking it to us and we couldn't seem to muster up the energy," Julien said. "We started to pick it up in the third period but it was too late."
Drake snapped a 2-2 tie by cutting to the net just as Barret Jackman wound up to shoot. Serving as an effective screen, Drake blocked Martin Brodeur's line of sight as the puck bounced off Drake at 9:35.
Earlier in the second, Gionta gave the Devils a 2-1 lead 19 seconds in as he deflected Patrik Elias' shot past Legace.
The goal was Gionta's 20th and fifth in the last three games.
New Jersey almost had another when Zach Parise hit the crossbar about a minute later. That miss proved costly as the momentum soon swung in the Blues' favor.
"That would have made it 3-1 at the time and it may have been a different game," Julien said. "Somehow the puck stayed out and they came back."
Jackman got the first of his two assists in the period when Hinote poked the puck past Brodeur at 2:32 to tie it at 2.
The Devils got the first goal of the opening period when Madden deflected home Rafalski's pass from the right boards at 4:23.
The Blues pulled even at 10:50 as Tkachuk got his fifth goal in the last seven games.
Notes: Devils defensemen Colin White (groin) and Johnny Oduya (shoulder) remained sidelined. ... For the Blues, center Ryan Johnson (shoulder), defenseman Christian Backman (knee) and winger Vladimir Orszagh (knee) were out of the lineup. ... Two wingers reached games-played milestones. New Jersey's Jamie Langenbrunner made 700 while St. Louis' Lee Stempniak hit 100. ... Brodeur and Legace both stretched their strings of consecutive starts to 13. ... The Blues are 4-0 against Eastern Conference teams.
|John Madden (5) ASST: Brian Rafalski (25)|
1 - 0 NJD
|Keith Tkachuk (13) ASST: David Backes (2), Eric Brewer (9)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Brian Gionta (20) ASST: Patrik Elias (25), Brian Rafalski (26)|
2 - 1 NJD
|Dan Hinote (5) ASST: Barret Jackman (6), Jay McClement (8)|
2 - 2 Tie
|Dallas Drake (2) ASST: Barret Jackman (7)|
3 - 2 STL
|Jamie Rivers Hooking against Paul Martin|
|Martin Rucinsky Holding against Paul Martin|
|Scott Gomez Tripping against Keith Tkachuk|
|Mike Rupp Boarding against Dennis Wideman|
|Keith Tkachuk Interference against Jay Pandolfo|
|Mike Rupp Fighting (maj) against Bryce Salvador|
|Bryce Salvador Fighting (maj) against Mike Rupp|