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Red Wings 3, Blues 0 @NHLdotcom

DETROIT (AP) - The struggling St. Louis Blues were the perfect opponent for Manny Legace.

Playing for the first time in more than a month, Legace needed to make only 15 saves for his third shutout of the season, and the Detroit Red Wings beat St. Louis 3-0 Thursday night.

Pavel Datsyuk, Kris Draper and Henrik Zetterberg scored for the Western Conference-leading Red Wings, who have won six of seven.

The Blues - who have won an NHL-low 10 games - didn't make Legace work too hard.

``It was a good team to come back to,'' Legace acknowledged. ``We caught them on a back-to-back night, and an off night, too.

``I felt good. Rusty, especially on scrambles around the net, but I didn't have many of those.''

Legace had been out since injuring his right knee on Nov. 25. He set a league record with 10 wins in October.

``He didn't let any bounce off for any second chances, and that was real important,'' Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.

The Red Wings also welcomed back captain Steve Yzerman, who played for the first time since Dec. 9. Yzerman has appeared in just 22 of 40 games this season because of two groin injuries.

``I thought he played a solid game, especially considering he's been off for some time,'' teammate Brendan Shanahan said. ``It was nice to have him on the ice again.''

Curtis Sanford made 28 saves for the Blues, who have lost four of their last five - two by shutout.

The longest playoff streak in professional sports will likely end at 25 seasons this spring because of the moves St. Louis made - and didn't - in the offseason.

St. Louis traded star defenseman Chris Pronger to Edmonton and allowed forward Pavol Demitra to leave as a free agent. Plus, longtime defenseman Al MacInnis retired.

``It's been a tough year,'' Doug Weight said. ``We didn't do a lot in the offseason, other than lose MacInnis, Demitra and Pronger. We've been without (Keith) Tkachuk for most of the year because he's been hurt. We lost our No. 1 goalie, then we got a goalie (Patrick Lalime) that didn't work out too well for us.

``But with the depth and the young guys we have, I still think we can turn things around.''

The Red Wings began the game focused on getting off to a good start, and they did after trailing 2-0 in three of their previous four games.

Midway through the first period, Datsyuk scored his 16th goal on a power play for his team-high 45th point. Draper scored late in the first on a short-handed goal, extending his surge after a slow start. He has two goals and four assists in the last seven games after having only one goal and three assists in his first 32 games this season.

``This is the way we started games earlier in the season, and we need to get back to that,'' Shanahan said. ``When teams have to play us from behind and are forced to open things up, we're at our best.''

Zetterberg added a goal on a rebound early in the third period.

``We weren't mentally sharp at all,'' said St. Louis coach Mike Kitchen, adding his team was also physically tired.

Notes: The Blues played on consecutive days for the ninth time, and have lost the second game each time. ... Detroit is 20-0-1 when leading after two periods, and St. Louis is 0-18-2 when trailing after two. ... The Red Wings are 21-4-4-1 in their last 30 games against the Blues. ... Datsyuk scored his first goal at home since Oct. 21.

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