Despite injuries, Blues don't miss a beat


MONTREAL (AP) -- The St. Louis Blues are getting the most out of
their depth.

Pavol Demitra had a goal and two assists as St. Louis extended
its NHL-best winning streak to nine games with a 5-2 victory over
the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

The Blues are undefeated in 10 games since a season-opening loss
to Anaheim despite the absence of All-Star defenseman Chris
Pronger, goaltender Brent Johnson and left wing Keith Tkachuk.

''The Blues played a fantastic game -- it's no fluke that they've
won nine in a row,'' Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. ''They
skate well, they battle -- that's the team that's impressed me the
most this year.''

Rookie Eric Boguniecki scored twice, and Martin Rucinsky and
Doug Weight also scored for St. Louis, which completed a perfect
three-game road trip.

''It's an unbelievable feeling,'' said Demitra, who has eight
points in his last four games. ''Our four lines are scoring goals
and 20 guys are playing hard every game. It's a great feeling

Fred Brathwaite stopped 13 shots for his fifth straight win. The
Blues, who outshot Montreal 36-15, have won all five road games
this season.

''I don't know if we played that good or if they didn't have a
good night,'' Rucinsky said. ''We won the game and that's what
counts -- that's the bottom line.''

Pronger, the league MVP in 2000, is still recovering from wrist
surgery. Johnson is out with a high ankle sprain, and Tkachuk broke
his left foot Oct. 30.

Still, St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville had no complaints about
his team's effort as the Blues moved within one game of tying the
club-record 10-game streak set last Jan. 3-23.

''I like how we're playing,'' Quenneville said. ''We're playing
really solid in all areas. Tonight, we played a great game.''

Trailing 2-1, the Blues scored a pair of power-play goals in the
second to take the lead.

Rucinsky tied it at 8:26 with his third goal in three games
since signing as a free agent on Oct. 30, and Demitra scored his
second of the season with 4:23 left in the period to put the Blues

''Even when we're losing, we know we can come back,'' Demitra
said. ''Our team, we've got a lot of confidence in everybody. We're
just working hard.''

Boguniecki, who scored earlier in the second, got his second of
the game and sixth of the season on an unassisted effort 13:06 into
the third. Weight scored his fifth goal with 1:52 remaining.

Jan Bulis and Saku Koivu scored for Montreal, which was unbeaten
in its four previous games.

The Blues held a 12-4 margin in shots in the first, but the
Canadiens managed the period's only goal when Bulis drove a shot
between Brathwaite's legs with 1:12 left.

''That might have been our best first period of the year,''
Quenneville said.

Boguniecki scored his fifth goal 2:58 into the second to tie it
as he got behind defenseman Patrice Brisebois and tapped Demitra's
pass into the crease past goalie Jose Theodore.

Koivu restored Montreal's lead less than 2 minutes later when he
beat Brathwaite with a backhand shot from the edge of the crease at

The Blues tied it on a power play at 8:26 when Rucinsky swept a
shot under Theodore's stick and through his legs.

Demitra put St. Louis up 3-2 with another power-play goal at
15:37 after Scott Mellanby's pass to the slot set him up to shoot
into a wide-open right side.

Game notes
Weight, who assisted on Demitra's goal, has five goals and
11 assists during an eight-game point streak. ... Blues defenseman
Jeff Finley left the game after he was checked heavily into the
boards by Bill Lindsay about 5 minutes into the first. ...
Canadiens RW Donald Audette was a healthy scratch for the fourth
game in a row.