The resurgent St. Louis Blues don't know if they can catch the division-leading Detroit Red Wings, but they're certainly happy to be back in the hunt.
"We'd love to think we can catch them, but everytime we get close they pull away again," said Blues coach Joel Quenneville, following Thursday night's 4-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks.
Pierre Turgeon had a goal and two assists as the Blues scored four times on seven shots in handing the Canucks their sixth straight loss.
Scott Pellerin had a goal and an assist as the Blues completed a sweep of their four-game season series and beat the Canucks for the ninth straight time. In the four wins this season, the Blues outscored the Canucks 20-4.
Vancouver's last win over St. Louis came on Dec. 15, 1996.
With the victory, the Blues 4-1-1 in their last six games moved into a tie for fifth place with idle Anaheim in the Western Conference standings, and within three of the Red Wings.
After the Canucks opened the scoring 6:17 into the game on Bryan McCabe's first goal in 10 games, the Blues responded with four goals.
Pellerin tied the game at 9:40 mark of the first, deflecting Ricard Persson's point shot through goalie Kevin Weekes' legs.
Scott Young put the Blues ahead for good on a controversial goal. With Young carrying the puck around the top of the zone, Canucks defenseman Mattias Ohlund nudged Turgeon into the goalie. With Weekes off-balance, Young shot the puck through the goalie's legs.
Referee Terry Gregson immediately ruled it to a goal, ignoring Canucks pleas to review the play on video.
St. Louis then broke the game open, scoring twice in the span of 1:27 early in the second period.
Michel Picard ended Weekes' night after Paol Demitra set him up for a one-timer from behind the net 1:19 into the period.
Weekes, acquired as part of last January's deal that sent Pavel Bure to Florida, has yet to win an NHL game over parts of two seasons, and is 0-5-1 since joining Vancouver. He made six saves on nine shots before being lifted for Garth Snow.
Turgeon welcomed Snow to the game by beating him with a weak wrist shot from 35 feet. The Blues built their 4-1 lead despite being outshot 12-10.
"It's always nice," Turgeon said, when asked of the numbers he put up. "But the main thing is two points for a win is more important. That's the main thing."
"(Turgeon's) a regular producer for us," said Quenneville, who's elected to go with a more balanced lineup, splitting up the combination of Turgeon and former linemate Pavol Dimitra. "He can make plays, he's got good speed and you can always count on him for production,"
The Canucks, 0-6-1 in their last seven home games and 1-9-2 in their last 12 overall, fell deeper into the conference cellar. The Canucks (20-41-11) also fell 21 games below .500 for the first time since finishing the 1987-88 season 25-46-9.
Weekes, who questioned Gregson's call on Young's goal, said the Canucks have to continue to battle.
"I don't detect anyone quitting. There's no way we can quit here. That shouldn't even be a word in our vocabulary," said Weekes. "I don't think that things are going the way they are for us because of a lack of effort. ... Winning breeds winning and unfortunately, and maybe even worse, losing breeds losing.
"It's not that we're losers, we're losing games."
Canucks captain Mark Messier, who had an assist on McCabe's goal, was back in the lineup after missing 18 games with a sprained left knee. The assist was the 1,047th of Messier's career, leaving him two behind Gordie Howe, who is fourth on the career list.
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