Blues G Legace gets eighth straight win over Avs

DENVER (AP) -- Martin Rucinsky once helped the Colorado Avalanche
land a Hall of Fame goalie.

On Friday night, the former Colorado player simply took
advantage of an Avalanche goalie, scoring twice for St. Louis in
the Blues' 4-2 win over Colorado.

Rucinsky was famously dealt to the Montreal Canadiens -- along
with Andrei Kovalenko and Jocelyn Thibault -- on Dec. 6, 1995, for
Patrick Roy, who guided the team to two Stanley Cup titles in an
Avalanche sweater.

When asked about the deal, Rucinsky smiled and looked the other

"It's been a long time," Rucinsky said. "Life goes on and
things happen for a reason. There's nothing special to me to score
on them. It's just another game for me. It was a game we had to

The Blues are 4-0-1 in their last five games. They also improved
to 4-2-3 since Andy Murray took over as head coach for Mike Kitchen
on Dec. 11.

"We're working hard, we're competing," Murray explained.

Manny Legace continued his dominance of Colorado, beating the
Avalanche for the eighth straight time. He stopped 30 shots to
improve to 10-1 in his career against Colorado.

Even he's at a loss to explain his success against the

"It isn't anything special [with me and the Avs]," Legace
said. "It is luck when I come in here. The play always seems to be
right in front of me. You have to be sharp when you play them."

Rucinsky's power-play goal midway through the third period was
the winner. He scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season.

Keith Tkachuk scored an empty net goal with 30.1 seconds left to
put the game away.

After the game Avalanche goalie Peter Budaj, who had a four-game winning streak halted,
still couldn't believe Rucinsky's shot got past him.

"[It] was real lucky," he said. "The guy fanned on the shot
and it went in on a rebound. I have to play better. I can't let one
goal get to me."

Bill Guerin and Rucinsky scored second-period goals for the
Blues. Colorado countered with goals from Joe Sakic and Wojtek

Guerin, who also had one of the assists on Rucinsky's goal, has
five goals in his last five games and 17 on the season.

Sakic's goal inched him closer to tying Paul Coffey for 10th
place on the NHL's career scoring list. Sakic (1,530 points) is a
point shy of Coffey.

Wolski, one of the top rookie scorers in the league, has six
points in his last three games.

"We'll think about this [loss] for a while," Colorado
defenseman Brett Clark said. "We have to rebound and get back on
the right track."

The Blues already appear on the right track, earning at least a
point in their last seven games. The two teams will meet again
Saturday night in St. Louis.

"They're playing very well right now under [Murray]," Clark
said. "They're playing a good system and team game."

Rucinsky credits Murray for that.

"Andy coming here has had a lot to do with our turnaround," he
said. "He's been successful wherever he's been. He brought a
system in that we have bought in on."

Murray downplayed his role in the turnaround.

"I know a lot of the players from other places that I've
coached," Murray said. "We are familiar with each other. We have
gotten good goaltending from Legace. He's given us good goaltending
and we've improved defensively. Good play from your goalie helps
improve your defense. Hard work translates into wins."

Game notes
Colorado D Karlis Skrastins played in his 470th consecutive
game Saturday night, the longest active streak in the NHL and
second longest by a defenseman in NHL history. Tim Horton played in
486 straight games for Toronto from 1961-68. ... Marek Svatos
returned to the lineup after missing the last three games with a
groin injury. ... The Blues haven't allowed a first-period goal in
nine straight games since Murray took over.