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Johnson stops 19 shots to end three-game skid

3/12/2003

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- With a new goalie heading to town, Brent Johnson wanted to make a good impression.

"I wasn't fearful out there," said Johnson after the St. Louis
Blues beat the San Jose Sharks 4-2 on Tuesday night. "I just tried
to keep it simple. I got into the flow of the game pretty fast."

Keith Tkachuk, Dallas Drake, Cory Stillman and Eric Boguniecki
all scored for the Blues, who won their fifth in six games and drew
within a point of the Colorado Avalanche for the No. 4 playoff spot
in the Western Conference.

Johnson, who missed the last five games with a groin pull,
stopped 19 shots to end his three-game losing streak as the Blues
improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 visits to San Jose.

"I thought he handled the puck well and settled down," Blues
coach Joel Quenneville said. "He had to be alert, and he was."

Marco Sturm and Miroslav Zalesak scored for the Sharks, who lost
their fifth in six games. Zalesak, recalled from Cleveland of the
AHL earlier in the day, recorded his first NHL goal.

A dizzying series of moves by both teams led to several new
faces on the ice. The Blues acquired goalie Chris Osgood from the
New York Islanders for a draft pick and a prospect, and forward
Valeri Bure from the Florida Panthers for a prospect before
Tuesday's trading deadline.

"Bure gives us four strong lines," Stillman said. "Any of
those lines can score."

Osgood figures to get the majority of playing time, over
Johnson, once he arrives.

"It will be interesting to have him here," Johnson said. "He
brings something we don't have."

The Sharks got center Wayne Primeau, while sending right wing
Matt Bradley to the Pittsburgh Penguins. San Jose also traded
defenseman Dan McGillis to Boston for a draft pick.

"The couple of hours before the trade deadline were
stressful," said Sharks center Vincent Damphousse, rumored to be
headed elsewhere. "After we found out we're staying, we can move
on from here."

The Blues scored two quick goals in the first period. Doug
Weight passed the puck from behind the net and Dallas Drake tapped
it past Sharks goalie Miika Kiprusoff with 12:16 remaining in the
period.

Less than four minutes later, Stillman took a pass from Petr
Cajanek and drove to the net, beating Kiprusoff to the stick side.

"We just kept pushing the puck all night," said Stillman, who
scored for just the third time in 22 games. "Any time you have
your full lineup, it's great."

Cajanek, who missed the last 24 games due to a broken left
fibula, recorded his first point since a two-goal game against
Tampa Bay on Jan. 11.

Tkachuk, in his second game back after serving a four-game
suspension, tipped the puck past Kiprusoff's glove side less than
five minutes into the second period.

Sturm and Zalesak scored within 16 seconds of each other midway
through the second period to put the Sharks on the scoreboard.

Sturm took a lead pass from Niko Dimitrakos and one-handed a
soft shot that bounced off the far post and into the net as Johnson
came out to challenge Sturm.

"I had a good backspin on that pass from Niko," Sturm said.
"I was just trying to put the puck on the net. That's not
something you can practice."

Zalesak took a pass off the ensuing faceoff from Jonathan
Cheechoo and beat Johnson.

Boguniecki scored on a breakaway midway through the third period
to make it 4-2.

Game notes
The Sharks reassigned C Ryan Kraft and C Chad Wiseman to
Cleveland of the AHL. ... Bure and Osgood were scheduled for
physicals on Wednesday and are expected to join the Blues in
Vancouver on Thursday. ... Primeau will make his Sharks debut on
Saturday against Calgary. ... Cajanek and Johnson were activated
from the injured list before the game.