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Blues 4, Blue Jackets 1 @NHLdotcom

ST. LOUIS (AP) - Patrick Lalime hardly looked rusty after a six-game benching.

Lalime stopped 25 shots and Dennis Wideman scored his first career goal and added an assist, helping the St. Louis Blues beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 on Thursday night.

``Of course, I was looking forward to it,'' Lalime said. ``It's been a while and it's nice to be out there again.''

Simon Gamache got his second career goal and Keith Tkachuk had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who ended a franchise-record seven-game home losing streak in a game matching the NHL's two worst teams. The Blue Jackets have 14 points, the Blues 13.

St. Louis blew third-period leads in the last two games, including a 4-3 home loss to the Blue Jackets in their last game on Saturday, and had been outscored 8-0 in the third period of the last three.

This time, it added to a one-goal lead on scores by Gamache and Tkachuk.

``I would say this, when it was time to put them away, we put them away,'' said forward Mike Sillinger, who had two assists. ``Tonight was the way the old Blues played.

``When I first got here, when we got a team down we always got that next goal.''

Jaroslav Balastik got his first career goal for Columbus, which has lost 10 of 12 on the road overall but had won its previous two. The Blue Jackets gave up 11 power plays and three power-play goals.

``They called a tight game, that's the way the new NHL is,'' coach Gerard Gallant said. ``You're not going to get many opportunities to score when you're sitting in the penalty box.''

One of the Blues' goals came with a two-man advantage. St. Louis scored once while Blue Jackets defenseman Duvie Westcott was off for holding and a second time only 6 seconds after he got out.

Westcott, who had four minor penalties, noted a referee supervisor was watching. He suggested the referees had an ``agenda.''

``A lot of calls were, you know, very shaky calls,'' Westcott said. ``One of my four penalties was a legitimate penalty, the other three weren't.''

Lalime lost his job to minor league call-up Curtis Sanford due to a 4.00 goals-against average, but got another chance after the Blues allowed 15 goals in the last three losses. He faced little pressure most of the game, but stopped three shots during Columbus' 5-on-3 advantage in the third period.

Lalime said perhaps he got discouraged by the Blues' early season struggles, leading to his benching.

``I think sometimes when you're not winning you try to do too much,'' Lalime said. ``You need to get back to the basics and do your job.''

Blue Jackets goalie Pascal Leclaire had 40 saves a night after getting his first career victory in a 3-2 shootout over the Wild.

Balastik's rebound shot on a power play tied it at 1 at 12:44 of the second. Columbus had essentially a two-man advantage on the play because the Blues' Ryan Johnson had lost his stick.

Wideman answered 50 seconds later on a power play to put the Blues in front to stay.

The Blues had a two-man advantage twice in the first period and capitalized on the second opportunity. Columbus was 8 seconds from escaping unscathed before Doug Weight scored his fifth on a slap shot from the slot with 46.2 seconds left in the first period.

Notes: The Blues had a season-best 44 shots, topping the previous high of 40 on Oct. 22 against the Wild. ... Blue Jackets C Manny Malhotra, who had a goal and two assists against the Blues last Saturday, was placed on injured reserve earlier in the day. He's missed the last two games with a back injury. ... Tkachuk has 27 points in 22 career games against Columbus. ... Blue Jackets RW David Vyborny injured his knee midway through the second period and did not return. Gallant said he hoped it was ``just a mild sprain.''

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