Blues Down Islanders


Pavol Demitra is proving that last season was not a fluke.

Demitra, who had 37 goals and 59 points last season, scored his seventh goal and added three assists as the St. Louis Blues beat the New York Islanders 5-3 on Saturday night.

"I've got a lot of bruises on my body from all the attention I'm getting," Demitra said. "But that's OK, as long as we're winning. That's the important thing."

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  • The victory was the first for the Blues in their last six meetings with the Islanders (1-2-3) since a 6-4 victory on Jan. 20, 1997, also at Nassau Coliseum.

    New York opened the scoring 3:48 into the game when Jorgen Jonsson scored the first of his two goals. Todd Reirden tied it at 15:22 when he skated alone to the low slot and beat goalie Wade Flaherty between the pads with a wrist shot.

    Rierden has three goals in 29 NHL games. But his career, which started in 1994, took him to two AHL teams, three IHL teams and three ECHL teams.

    The Blues scored the only goal of the second period at 14:39 when Lubos Bartecko, called up from Worcester earlier in the day, took Demitra's pass on a two-on-one break and tucked a wrist shot under the crossbar.

    "That entire line (Demitra, Bartecko and Michal Handzus) was working real well tonight," St. Louis coach Joel Quenneville said. "It seems when I put them together, they get a lot of energy."

    Islanders coach Butch Goring said his team played well until Bartecko's goal.

    "I thought the game was going along our way until the goal that mae it 2-1," Goring said. "After that, we took a lot more chances."

    One chance paid off early in the final period when Jonsson tied the game at 52 seconds off a pass from Claude Lapointe. But Demitra put the Blues ahead to stay at 5:55 when he was left uncovered at the right crease and easily scored off a pass from Pierre Turgeon.

    "I've been shooting for the last little while, and nothing's gone in," Demitra said. "It's nice to get one, but nicer to get the two points."

    Demitra set up Terry Yake for a power-play goal at 12:45 to give the Blues a 4-2 lead.

    Between the two goals, Roman Turek made the save of the game for St. Louis when he robbed Jonsson with a pad save on a shorthanded breakaway.

    Ted Drury did give the Islanders a chance with a goal with 2:04 left, but Mike Eastwood sealed the victory for the Blues with an empty-net goal with 29.2 seconds to go. Al MacInnis, playing his first game after missing 12 games because of a fractured fibula, assisted on the goal.

    "It got a little interesting at the end," Quenneville said.

    For Goring, interesting is not enough.

    "It seems to me that there are a lot of games where the other teams will have more talent than us," Goring said. "To win those games, we have to get more involved emotionally."

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