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Sanford, Blues halt skid, shut out Canucks

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- At least the St. Louis Blues have somebody's number.

Curtis Sanford stopped 34 shots for his third shutout of the
season and Mike Sillinger scored for the fifth straight game,
helping the Blues end a nine-game losing streak with a 4-0 victory
over the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night.

Vladimir Orsagh, Christian Backman and Petr Cajanek also scored
for the Blues, whose last victory also came over the Canucks on
Jan. 2. The slump was two games shy of a franchise-record 11-game
losing streak earlier this season.

The Canucks bring out the best in the Blues, who haven't
forgotten they got eliminated by Vancouver in the first round of
the playoffs three years ago. Checks from bruising Canucks forward
Todd Bertuzzi have led to shoulder injuries to Barret Jackman and
the now-retired Al MacInnis, and Jackman tried to goad Bertuzzi
into a fight a handful of times.

"We're just fired up to play them," Jackman said. "We've got
a little bit of a vendetta against them, and it shows.

"Everybody comes out to play and it's good to see."

Sanford, who has four shutouts in 28 career starts, was at his
best in the third period when the Canucks had a 21-5 shots
advantage. Vancouver, beginning a seven-game trip, was blanked on
four power plays in the final period.

"I thought he played great," Canucks forward Markus Naslund
said. "He kept them in the game."

This despite the Canucks' strategy of planting Bertuzzi and Ed
Jovanovski in front of the net to obscure the view.

"I was trying to peek over shoulders," Sanford said. "Those
are big bodies, and our defense isn't going to move them. It's
really tough, so you just have to try and focus on where the puck
is all the time and just keep an eye out for it."

The Canucks had been 7-2 since falling 4-1 at St. Louis, and had
outscored the opposition 22-6 during a four-game winning streak.
Backup goalie Maxime Ouellet, who got only his third start, made 19
saves.

"We didn't do good things throughout the entire game," coach
Marc Crawford said. "I don't think we had enough guys who worked
hard enough and we end up with that type of result when that
happens."

The Blues have the worst record in the NHL but had been
threatening to end the slump the last two games, both shootout
losses. They're 6-14-3 at home and 11-29-7 overall.

"We kind of knew this was coming," Backman said. "The last
two games we played really well and we deserved better."

The Blues were held without a shot during a double-minor for
high-sticking on Anson Carter midway through the first period
before breaking through on their next power play. Sillinger scored
his 18th goal on the deflection of Scott Young's drive from the
point at 16:24, giving him five goals and two assists in his last
five games.

Orsagh's first goal in five games with the Blues, and his first
NHL goal since March 30, 2004, put St. Louis ahead 2-0 late in the
second period. Orsagh, claimed off waivers from the Phoenix Coyotes
earlier this month, scored from the slot on a feed from Kevin
Dallman at 17:06.

Backman made it a three-goal bulge at 1:38 of the third on a
break-in after his penalty for holding the stick ended. Backman
deked Ouellet and scored on a backhander for his third goal of the
season.

Cajanek added an empty-net goal with 40 seconds to go.

Game notes
Former Blues F Aaron Downey was claimed off waivers by the
Canadiens and had an assist in a 7-3 loss at Carolina. Downey and
coach Mike Kitchen apparently clashed over playing time. ...
Sillinger left with back spasms after getting driven into the
boards by Mattias Ohlund late in the second period. He said he was
day-to-day. ... The Canucks are 1-12-2 when trailing after two
periods. The Blues are only 6-4-4 when leading after two. ...
Jovanovski returned to the Canucks' lineup after missing 11 games
with a groin injury.