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Senators 4, Blues 2 @NHL

ST. LOUIS (AP) -The Ottawa Senators will take wins any way they can get them.

Antoine Vermette scored a short-handed goal 4:26 into the third period to lift the Senators to a 4-2 victory Tuesday night over the St. Louis Blues, who felt they were robbed of two goals. The first of the disputed calls came moments before Vermette's winner.

"I have to tell you, I don't have a lot of sympathy," Senators coach Bryan Murray said.

Brad Boyes put the puck in at 3:14 of the final period and moments before play was stopped when Senators goalie Martin Gerber took possession of the puck. Replays showed that the puck went about a foot past the goal line before Gerber pulled it back with his stick and smothered it. The goal light wasn't turned on and the officials didn't look at replays until after play resumed.

According to Rule 78.6, once a game has restarted following a stoppage of play - in this case when Gerber held onto the puck - a replay can't award or disallow a goal.

"This should not happen in this day and age," said Blues center Doug Weight, who also lamented his team allowing two short-handed goals. "There's going to be sometimes you catch it, sometimes you don't."

The horn blew and play stopped 33 seconds later. The referees talked briefly with video goal judge Jerry Burt. Blues coach Andy Murray said referee Michael McGeough acknowledged during the delay that the goal should have counted but they couldn't reverse the call.

Andy Murray was annoyed that play was stopped with the Blues in possession of the puck in the Senators zone. He was more angry that Burt and NHL officials in Toronto, who monitor every game and can call for a review, didn't in a timely fashion.

"The video goal judge said he watched the replay and said he didn't think it went in," he said. "I mean, it's not even close. It's not even close."

He also took exception to Bryan Murray said he clearly heard the whistle blow "well before" the puck went over the red line.

"His hearing isn't good if that's the case," the Blues coach said.

The victory gave the Senators their fourth win in five games and a two-point lead over idle Pittsburgh for fourth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Penguins have played 73 games, one fewer than the Senators.

The Blues lost another apparent goal with 2:18 left when officials said David Backes' shot was covered. Again, replays showed the puck went over the line and was pulled out by Gerber before the whistle blew. The puck wasn't stopped until Gerber covered the puck.

McGeough said Backes used his stick to push Gerber's glove into the net after the goalie had possession of the puck.

"He pushed me into the net," Gerber said. "That one is up to the refs. Sometimes they call it, sometimes they don't. It was lucky they called it."

Vermette's 19th of the season was the second short-handed goal of the game and it came just nine seconds after Mike Fisher was sent off for delay of game. Vermette took a pass deep in the Blues zone from Chris Kelly, and goalie Curtis Sanford failed to slide to his left fast enough to stop the shot.

Fisher got the first short-handed score midway through the second period. He settled the puck at mid-ice before fighting off Lee Stempniak as they entered the Blues zone. He slapped in his 19th goal to give the Senators a 2-1 lead.

Chris Neil tied it at 1 with his 12th goal at 6:29 of the second. Kelly added an empty-netter to seal the win.

The Blues, who have failed to win during regulation in five games, opened the scoring on Barret Jackman's second goal of the season.

Boyes tied it at 2 with his 16th goal late in the second.

Notes: A 72-year-old man, whose name was not released, died of an apparent heart attack in the upper bowl of the Scottrade Center toward the end of the game. Details weren't immediately available. ... Blues C Ryan Johnson played after sitting five games because of an upper body injury. ... With an assist on Boyes' goal, Doug Weight has 20 points in 19 games against Ottawa. ... This was the only meeting between the teams this season and the first since Feb. 10, 2004, in Ottawa. The clubs last faced off in St. Louis on Dec. 5, 2002.

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