Osgood earns 10th career playoff shutout


VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The St. Louis Blues couldn't
have imagined a better way to start the playoffs.

Cory Stillman and Tyson Nash scored in the opening two minutes
and Chris Osgood made 20 saves as the Blues stunned the Vancouver
Canucks 6-0 Thursday night in the opener of their first-round
playoff series.

"That's how you want to play, that's how you map it out," said
Doug Weight after setting up the first goal and adding one of his
own in the third period. "It's certainly a big victory for us."

Alexander Khavanov scored twice, and Keith Tkachuk also
connected as the fifth-seeded Blues ended a five-game winless
streak from the end of the regular season.

Osgood, acquired at the trade deadline for his playoff
experience, improved to 13-1-4 against Vancouver with his 10th
career playoff shutout.

"That game epitomizes a total team effort," Osgood said of his
first playoff shutout since leaving Detroit two years ago. "We had
great back pressure and smothered them and didn't give them any

As a result, Osgood wasn't tested often. He got a break when
Markus Naslund hit the goalpost early and another when Trent Klatt
failed to bang a loose puck into an empty net after Osgood
misplayed a shot from behind the cage.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday night.

"We're going to do everything we did well and try to compound
it and snowball it going into Game 2," Weight said.

Dan Cloutier stopped just 22 shots for the Canucks, who matched
a 23-year-old franchise record for worst playoff loss and haven't
won a postseason game on home ice in seven years.

"We got outplayed in absolutely every aspect of the game
tonight," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said.

The Canucks, who finished the regular season 0-2-1 and lost the
Northwest Division title on the final day of the season, looked
nervous early. They struggled to control the puck, turned simple
passes into an adventure, and it wasn't long before they were
trailing 2-0.

Stillman deflected Weight's power-play point shot past Cloutier
1:30 into the game, and Nash banged home his own rebound 31 seconds
later after Cloutier made a sprawling stop on the first shot.

"Maybe they wanted to get off to such a good start and they got
off to such a horrendous start that it really threw their
confidence for a loop," Crawford said of his players.

Vancouver called a timeout, Naslund hit the post less than two
minutes later, and the Canucks appeared to generate a little
momentum midway through the period. But it fizzled when they failed
to record a shot on three straight power plays, and ended
completely when Tkachuk converted a give-and-go with Pavol Demitra
1:30 into the second period.

Demitra, back in the lineup after flying to St. Louis on
Wednesday for the birth of his first child, added his second assist
on Khavanov's power-play goal.

Khavonov added his second goal on a wraparound midway through
the third period amid boos from a sellout crowd of 18, 514. Most
fans had already left the building by the time Weight beat Cloutier
cleanly on the power play from 35 feet.

"Anybody in the rink, anybody in the entire province of British
Columbia, anybody across anywhere in Canada or the United States
can look at that game and say that team was awful, they weren't
ready," Crawford added.

"We just didn't ever deserve to be in the same league, let
alone the same rink. We know it, I'm embarrassed by it, the team is
embarrassed by it. We have to regroup and get better."

St. Louis finished 3-for-9 on the power play and held the
Canucks' power play scoreless in six chances.

Game notes
: Vancouver, which finished second in the NHL with 264
goals, has been outscored 9-0 in the last eight periods. ...
Vancouver rookie C Brandon Reid, recalled from AHL Manitoba after C
Mats Lindgren reinjured his back, made his NHL playoff debut. ...
Vancouver's last playoff win on home ice -- April 22, 1996 against
Colorado -- came with current coach Marc Crawford coaching the
Avalanche and St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville as his assistant.
The Canucks' last playoff series win came against St. Louis in the
first round in 1995.