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Detroit Red Wings 4, St. Louis Blues 3 FINAL @NHLdotcom

ST. LOUIS (AP) - In the new-look NHL, Detroit forward Brendan Shanahan says a lead in the third period doesn't mean nearly as much as it used to.

``The old days of having a two- or three-goal lead and just being able to lock on are over,'' Shanahan said Thursday night after the Red Wings gave up two goals in the third period but hung on for a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues. ``You're just going to have to keep on playing.''

Robert Lang had a goal and an assist, and Jason Williams had three assists as the Red Wings completed a season-opening home-and-home sweep of the Blues.

Mikael Samuelsson and Jiri Fischer also scored for Detroit, while Manny Legace made 23 saves for his second win in as many nights.

Detroit, which beat the Blues 5-1 at home Wednesday night, could not have asked for a better opponent to open the season. Since 2002-03, Detroit is 11-1-1 against St. Louis.

``They've been a good team,'' Legace said. ``I'm not sure why we've had that kind of success, but I hope it keeps up.''

Detroit's victory wasn't assured until the final seconds as the Blues, with the goalie pulled for an extra attacker, got off several shots in a goal-mouth scramble. St. Louis outshot Detroit 11-4 in the final period.

``We had a lot of momentum,'' Blues forward Doug Weight said. ``We showed a lot in the third. I had two great shots at the end. I think Manny saved the first one and I hit (Nicklas) Lidstrom with the other one.''

Detroit coach Mike Babcock was ready for it to end.

``I thought we fought through the first period and dominated the second,'' he said. ``The third period was kind of a free-for-all.''

The Red Wings did not help themselves by taking four penalties in the third period, including a double-minor to Chris Chelios for high-sticking.

With the referees calling the games tight under the league directive, Babcock said the teams will have to adjust.

``It's not as easy to protect a lead,'' he said. ``It's going to be a challenge, but that's the way it is. We'll just have to adjust.''

Weight had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, while defenseman Andy Roach scored his first career goal and Dean McAmmond got his first goal as a member of the Blues.

``We can build off the third period,'' Blues coach Mike Kitchen said. ``Our energy was much better in this game.''

Detroit led 2-1 after the first period, and appeared to take control when Fischer and Shanahan scored late in the second.

Fischer made it 3-1 at 16:10 when he took a feed from Tomas Holmstrom, skated down the right side and beat goalie Patrick Lalime inside the far post. Shanahan then scored on the power play with 1:43 left in the period as he put in the rebound of Williams' shot from the left point.

But Weight cut it to 4-2 with a power-play goal at 5:06 of the third, and McAmmond made it a one-goal game 1:04 later when he beat Legace with a slap shot from the left circle.

``I gave up a bad goal there and it hurt us,'' he said. ``They were flying after that.''

Notes: Blues F Keith Tkachuk was scratched due to a sore groin. ... It was the first regular season game at the Savvis Center since April 1, 2004, when the Blues lost 3-2 to Detroit. ... The three points equaled a career high for Williams.

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