Tkachuk Traded by Blues Before Loss

Monday, February 26th 2007, 6:54 am
By: News On 6

Keith Tkachuk is gone from St. Louis, and Bill Guerin might soon follow him out the door.

Things aren't as bad for the Blues this year as last, but the club still has a long way to go in its rebuilding process.

The Blues had a busy Sunday, yet not one that is likely to please their fans. St. Louis traded away Tkachuk, their second-leading scorer, to Atlanta and followed that with an uninspiring 5-1 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blues, who finished last in the NHL last season, have settled into 11th in the Western Conference _ 12 points below the postseason cutoff. St. Louis had reached the playoffs 25 straight seasons before missing a year ago.

Losing Tkachuk and the prospect of Guerin _ first on the team with 28 goals and 47 points _ being sent packing before Tuesday's NHL dealing deadline left the Blues on their heels in the first game after the trade.

``It shouldn't,'' Guerin said. ``We're all professionals here, and that's part of the business. You just have to accept it and move on. We have to play for the St. Louis Blues and we came out a little flat. It's too bad we got off to the start we did. We dug ourselves a pretty deep hole.''

Martin Havlat had a goal and two assists for the Blackhawks, who snapped a five-game losing streak and ended the Blues' four-game winning streak. Chicago was ahead 3-0 in the first period despite putting only five shots on goal.

Havlat, playing in his 40th game, improved his totals to 24 goals and 25 assists. He missed 22 games with ankle and groin injuries.

``He was spectacular again,'' Chicago coach Denis Savard said. ``He helps everyone else and he's fun to watch. He was all over the ice.''

In other games, it was New Jersey 3, Washington 2; Minnesota 4, Edmonton 1; Dallas 2, Vancouver 1 in overtime; Tampa Bay 5, Pittsburgh 1; Nashville 4, Columbus 3, in a shootout; and Anaheim 5, Colorado 3.

Duncan Keith, Adrian Aucoin and Bryan Smolinski had first-period goals as the Blackhawks peppered Curtis Sanford to build the big advantage. Patrick Sharp added a short-handed, empty-net goal with 3:16 left.

Blues coach Andy Murray couldn't explain his team's poor performance.

``It's a big game for us and we had absolutely no reason,'' Murray said. ``We needed to be better in every position _ coaching, goaltending, defense and forwards.''

St. Louis acquired forward Glen Metropolit, a first-round draft pick and a third-round selection this year, and a second-round choice in 2008. If the Thrashers re-sign Tkachuk, they will also send a first-round choice in next year's draft to the Blues.

None of that helped them Sunday. Metropolit is expected to join the team for practice Monday. Sanford stopped four of 11 shots before being replaced by Jason Bacashihua at the start of the third period.

Devils 3, Capitals 2

At Washington, Jamie Langenbrunner's power-play goal broke a third-period tie, and Scott Clemmensen became the first New Jersey goalie other than Martin Brodeur to win this season.

Brodeur set an NHL record by winning the Devils' first 38 games. That streak was snapped in Clemmensen's first appearance since Dec. 14. In his second start of the season, Clemmensen made 23 saves for his first victory since March 24, 2006. Brodeur had started the Devils' previous 32 games.

Zach Parise and Travis Zajac each had a goal and an assist for the Devils, who have won four straight road games and four of five overall.

Brooks Laich also scored for the Capitals, who won at New Jersey on Saturday but have lost six of seven.

Wild 4, Oilers 1

At St. Paul, Minn., Pierre-Marc Bouchard had a goal and an assist, and Niklas Backstrom made 19 saves for the Wild.

Fernando Pisani scored his first goal since Jan. 31 seven minutes into the third period to cut Minnesota's lead to 2-1. The Wild answered a minute later when Pavol Demitra set up Marian Gaborik for his sixth goal in seven games.

Todd White and Brent Burns also scored for Minnesota.

Stars 2, Canucks 1, OT

At Dallas, Jere Lehtinen's power-play goal 4:17 into overtime snapped Vancouver's six-game winning streak.

Lehtinen notched his 21st goal from the left circle with 5 seconds remaining on a tripping penalty against Lukas Krajicek. That completed the Stars' rally and improved their mark to 12-3-2 in the last 17 games.

Roberto Luongo was less than 30 seconds away from his 31st NHL shutout when the Stars tied it at 1 on Philippe Boucher's power-play goal.

Taylor Pyatt had a second-period goal for the Canucks, who had won each of their previous six games by one goal.

Lightning 5, Penguins 1

At Tampa, Fla., Brad Richards had a goal and three assists, Martin St. Louis matched a career-high with his 38th goal and Vincent Lecavalier added his 41st, leading the Southeast Division-leading Lightning past Pittsburgh.

Paul Ranger and Filip Kuba also scored for the Lightning, who have a 12-game winning streak against Pittsburgh. Tampa Bay coach John Tortorella earned his 200th victory with the Lightning.

Sergei Gonchar scored for the Penguins, who lost for only the fourth time in 19 games.

Predators 4, Blue Jackets 3, SO

At Columbus, Ohio, Alexander Radulov scored the only shootout goal and Chris Mason stopped Rick Nash on the final shot of the tiebreaker for Nashville.

Paul Kariya, J.P. Dumont and Vernon Fiddler scored in regulation for Central Division-leading Nashville, which won despite blowing a two-goal lead. The Predators ended a season-high four-game road losing streak and improved to 7-0 against the Blue Jackets.

Fredrik Modin and Ron Hainsey each had a goal and an assist, and Jody Shelley scored for Columbus, which has dropped nine of 12.

Ducks 5, Avalanche 3

At Anaheim, Calif., Scott Niedermayer scored the go-ahead goal with 3:23 left and set up a power-play tally by Chris Pronger 48 seconds later for the host Ducks.

Andy McDonald had two goals and an assist, and Teemu Selanne added a goal and assist to help the Pacific Division-leading Ducks avoid a four-game season sweep by Colorado.

Joe Sakic, Mark Rycroft and Milan Hejduk scored for the Avalanche, who lost their third straight and 11th in 16 games.

Colorado's Karlis Skrastins, who injured a knee Saturday, had his NHL-record, consecutive-game streak by a defenseman snapped at 495 games. Skrastins had not missed a game since Feb. 18, 2000.