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Blues 2, Blackhawks 0 @NHL

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Goalie Manny Legace likes the way the St. Louis Blues have started games lately.

Lee Stempniak and Dennis Wideman scored goals to lead the Blues to a 2-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night.

St. Louis has not given up a goal in the first period since Andy Murray became coach 12 games ago. The streak matches the NHL record which was set in 1974 by the Los Angeles Kings. The Blues ended the Kings streak that season by scoring a first period goal in the 13th game.

"Another 30 or 40 of them would be nice," Legace said. "That's they way hockey goes sometimes."

Legace faced 14 shots in the first period. He stopped a breakaway at 13:36 by Martin Havlat and then blanked the Blackhawks on two power-play opportunities.

"I was kinda worried when he was coming down all alone," Legace said about Havlat. "He hit me right in the blue note. It was great."

That was a big stop, Murray said.

"Early in the first period when Havlat, probably the most dangerous player on their team, got behind us and that shouldn't happen," Murray said. "But that's why you have a goalie. Obviously, that's a key save."

In all, Legace stopped 28 shots to earn his 15th career shutout. His last was Dec. 30 against Colorado.

"He's been good but again, I think Manny's doing what he's supposed to be doing -- stopping pucks," Murray said. "That's what he gets paid for. I don't get too high or excited about it. When Manny stops the puck, that's what we expect from him."

Legace has posted a 6-1-1 record in his last eight games.

"The guys have been playing just unbelievable in front of me," Legace said. "The guys took over in the second and third period and played great."

Stempniak scored his 12th goal of the season at 11:14 of the first period on the power play, giving the Blues a 1-0 lead. The Blues have scored seven power-play goals in the last four games.

St. Louis had a two-man advantage when Stempniak scored from the left faceoff circle. He has notched five points (two goals, three assists) in his past five games. Wideman assisted on the goal and has four assists in his past four games.

"It was good to come out and score on that 5-on-3," Stempniak said. "It gave us something to build one. We need to score some more goals. We can't expect to win every game 2-0."

Wideman gave the Blues a 2-0 lead 29 seconds into the third period when he pushed the puck into an open net. Bill Guerin quickly passed to Wideman, who one-timed the puck from the right side of the crease to beat Chicago goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

"When you're out on the ice with Doug Weight and Bill Guerin, there's going to be some extra attention towards them," Wideman said. "Dougie made a great play reading it, faking the shot, going down to Billy and Billy made a great play."

The lack of offense hurt Chicago, Khabibulin said.

"I thought Legace made some nice saves in the first period and we couldn't generate much," Khabibulin said. "That was the difference."

Chicago coach Denis Savard agreed.

"You know the first period, we had a lot of chances," Savard said. "It was one of those games where they had their goaltender playing well as ours played well. It could have gone either way."

Notes: Seven of the Blues' next eight games are on the road. ... The Blues have scored the first goal of the game in 11 of their past 12 games. ... St. Louis defenseman Jay McKee is two points shy of 100 for his career and skated in his 600th career NHL game. ... The Blackhawks are tied for eighth in the NHL in short-handed goals with six. That equals their total from last year.

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