Vyborny helps Columbus snaps four-game skid

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- The hard times continue for the St. Louis

David Vyborny scored two goals and Marc Denis stopped 24 shots
to help the Columbus Blue Jackets to a 3-1 victory Wednesday night that
extended the Blues' franchise-record losing streak to nine games.

"We've hit rock bottom," Blues forward Mike Sillinger said.
"We have a team that's been struggling here for the last 10 or 12
games. ... We've got to keep working hard. The easy thing to do now
is obviously to start pointing fingers. I think everybody just
needs to take a deep breath and look at themselves."

Manny Malhotra and Nikolai Zherdev each had two assists for the
Blue Jackets, who came in having scored the fewest goals (28) in
the NHL. Columbus, which ended a four-game losing streak, has won
its last three home games.

Todd Marchant also scored for the Blue Jackets, his first goal
of the season.

"In hockey, there are no little things. Everything is a big
thing," Marchant said. "Whether it's a chip off the wall, a guy
taking a hit to make a play, sacrificing your body to block a shot
-- that's all part of it. Tonight we did a lot of those little
things right."

The loss kept St. Louis winless on the road (0-4-2). Lee
Stempniak scored a power-play goal in the final minute to avoid the

"We're very frustrated right now," Blues coach Mike Kitchen
said. "We're not a very confident club. That goes right to your
hands and your legs, when you're not confident. That's something we
have to get by. That's where you have to work your way out of this
thing we are in now."

Two fights broke out after the game ended, with the officials
taking several minutes to clear the ice and send the players back
to the locker rooms.

Vyborny opened the scoring at 17:21 of the first period after
Malhotra skated behind the net and flipped the puck into the slot
with a wraparound move. Vyborny was alone in the slot and went high
over Patrick Lalime's right shoulder to extend his points streak to
six games. Vyborny has goals in the last three games.

"I just play hard every game," said Vyborny, who is breaking
out of a slow start. "I don't care if I score. I know I had a bad
beginning, but I just try to focus on every game and play my

St. Louis mustered five shots in the opening period, none during
a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted more than a minute.

Both Malhotra and Zherdev also assisted on Vyborny's second
goal. Zherdev and Vyborny passed back and forth on a 2-on-1 rush,
with Vyborny again going high with the shot to beat Lalime at 2:07
of the second.

Denis wasn't tested most of the night and didn't give up a goal
until the 25th and final shot by the Blues. Petr Cajanek's
centering pass from the back boards found Stempniak in the slot and
he scored his second goal with 36 seconds remaining.

"You could see more confidence as the game went on -- and that
is something that has been lacking," Denis said. "There's some
stuff we have to work on but we controlled the scoreboard. When you
get the first (goal), you're playing on edge. When you get the
first and second ones, all of a sudden you're playing in control.
And we got a third one, a big one, and now you're in control of the

The Blues failed to score on their first eight power plays
before Stempniak's goal. The Blue Jackets were 0-for-3 with a man

Lalime had 20 saves for the Blues.

Game notes
Columbus was opening a four-game homestand. ... The Blues
have dominated the series, 13-5-3-1. ... The Blue Jackets are
playing without Rick Nash, their leading goal-scorer in 2003-2004.
He'll be out until mid-December with a sprained knee. ... Sillinger
had his four-game points streak end, as did the seven-game points
streak of Columbus' Bryan Berard.