Ferraro gets goal, assist in Blues debut

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Ray Ferraro gave himself as much of a lift as
his new team.

Ferraro had a goal and an assist in the final two minutes of his
first game with the St. Louis Blues, helping turn a tight contest
into a 5-1 blowout over the Nashville Predators on Tuesday night.

The goal was only his ninth of the season, after totaling 29
last season, and his first since Feb. 8.

"I got here today, so whatever was before I'm trying to erase
that from my memory, along with all the stats that went with it,"
Ferraro said. "As much as I liked Atlanta and as much as the
people were great to me, I really look at this as a fresh start."

Ferraro, acquired Monday from the Thrashers for a fourth-round
draft pick, and coach Joel Quenneville were teammates on the
Hartford Whalers in the early 1980s. Quenneville caught himself
using Ferraro's old nickname, "Pee Wee," a couple of times on the

"We were teammate-friends and we got along pretty well, but
it's a different way of life here," Quenneville said. "I think
he's ready to help the team and be one of the guys."

Scott Mellanby and Pavol Demitra scored in a 2:16 span of the
second period as the Blues recovered from a sluggish start and an
early deficit.

Keith Tkachuk had two assists for the Blues, who have won three
of four after a seven-game winless slump endangered their playoff
hopes. They have 79 points, sixth in the Western Conference, but
three teams are within three points.

"We got the job done," Quenneville said. "But we've got to be
better than that."

Brent Johnson made his eighth straight start for St. Louis and
made 25 saves. The Blues gave Johnson a vote of confidence,
electing not to shop for a veteran goalie before Tuesday's trade

"I was really never worried or anything like that," Johnson
said. "Whatever they chose to do was going to happen."

Johnson also assisted on the clincher, a short-handed goal by
Chris Pronger with 3:32 to go that made it 3-1. Pronger scored his
first goal since Jan. 15, a 22-game drought.

"We took the crowd out of it for the first 30 minutes, and then
brought them back to life," Pronger said.

Cory Stillman added an empty-net goal with 1:21 to play, with
Ferraro assisting, and Ferraro scored at 19:14.

Mellanby scored his 12th goal during a power play only seconds
after breaking his blade and getting a new stick from the bench.
The goal at 14:49 of the second tied it at 1. Mellanby deflected a
shot from the point by Chris Pronger to end an 0-for-13 drought
with the man advantage for St. Louis.

Demitra got his 27th at 17:06, two shots later for the Blues. He
tapped the puck past Tomas Vokoun off a backhand feed from rushing
defenseman Bryce Salvador.

The Predators have lost five in a row, scoring only eight goals
in that span, and are 0-6-0-1 in their last seven games. Vladimir
Orszagh scored on a rebound of a point shot by Kimmo Timonen at
4:11 of the first period for the game's first goal.

"I know everybody will read the paper tomorrow and say `Oh
jeez, 5-1 -- must have been a pretty easy game,"' coach Barry Trotz
said. "For 56 minutes we matched St. Louis I thought pretty well
in every aspect."

Game notes
The Blues ran numerous puck warnings on the scoreboard, a
day after a 13-year-old girl died after being struck in the head by
a puck in Columbus, Ohio. ... Ferraro is only the second player in
Blues history to wear No. 13. The only other was Yuri Khmylev, who
appeared in nine games from 1995-97. ... The Blues are 11-18-6-2
when giving up the game's first goal. ... Predators C Greg Johnson
played in his 233rd consecutive game. He's one of five Nashville
players who have appeared in all 69 games.