Pronger gets first goal, but Hull gets hat trick


ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Chris Pronger was excited to be back on the ice
-- until he had to try to stop Brett Hull.

Hull's 33rd career hat trick lifted the Detroit Red Wings to a
6-2 win over the St. Louis Blues on Saturday, spoiling Pronger's
return to the lineup.

Pronger scored in his first game back for St. Louis. The 2000
NHL MVP and Norris Trophy winner missed the first 77 games of the
season while recovering from knee and wrist surgery.

"It's always nice to be back on the ice and playing, but I
realized I've got a lot of work I need to do," Pronger said. "As
a team we've got a lot of work we need to do and we need to
continue to get better."

Pavel Datsyuk, Nicklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov also scored
for the Red Wings, who have won 19 of 22 (19-2-0-1). Pronger was on
the ice for five Detroit goals.

"Hullie made a couple of nice plays," Blues coach Joel
Quenneville said. "We played the way we wanted to play, but they
scored on about every scoring chance they had."

Hull did not speak with reporters. His teammates were happy to
talk about him.

"This was a big game for both teams and Brett carried us,"
Detroit defenseman Chris Chelios said. "We played well
offensively, especially Brett, and were able to limit them on

The Red Wings went 4-0-0-1 against the Blues this season.

The teams combined for 219 penalty minutes in the third period.
There were two prolonged fights involving all the players on the
ice in the game's final two minutes.

A chair wound up near center ice with 35 seconds to go, but it
was not apparent who threw it and none of the players or coaches
would say.

In addition, Detroit coach Dave Lewis and Quenneville shouted at
each other during the final minute of the game.

"I think they challenged us and we won every battle," Lewis
said. "Any battle we were thrown into, we seemed to win. I'm very
happy with the results.

"I knew exactly what they were doing. I was just surprised it
happened twice."

Detroit's Darren McCarty said the outcome of the game was more
important than winning the fights.

"Winning is the most important thing to us," McCarty said.
"We don't initiate anything, but we can handle it."

Tyson Nash scored the other St. Louis goal.
Hull, who also had an assist, leads the Red Wings with 36 goals.
His last hat trick came against Ottawa on March 16.

Hull scored at 11:33 of the first period to make it 1-0. He got
behind Pronger, took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and chipped the
puck past goaltender Chris Osgood.

Datysuk scored his 11th of the season at 14:32 to give Detroit a
2-0 lead. He split defensemen Bryce Salvador and Pronger and jammed
the puck past Osgood.

Pronger scored at 16:31 of the first period. Blues center Steve
Martins won a faceoff, and Pronger powered a shot past goalie Manny

Lidstrom added a power-play goal at 18:10 of the second to make
it 3-1.

Nash's goal came at 12:22 of the third to cut the lead to 3-2,
but Fedorov scored less than a minute later.

Hull capped the scoring with a power-play goal at 16:06 and
another goal at 18:47 of the third period.

Legace stopped 22 shots, while Osgood made 15 saves.

"Manny was excellent," Lewis said. "This was a game Manny was
ready to play."

Game notes
Detroit has 16 power-play goals in its last 16 games. ...
The last time St. Louis beat Detroit was April 14, 2002, at Savvis
Center. ... Detroit had vocal crowd support. The St. Louis starters
were booed during introductions. ... Valeri Bure played his first
game for St. Louis since being acquired from Florida. ... Legace
assisted on Datsyuk's goal, his first assist of the season.