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Blues spoil Sundin's home debut with 6-4 win over Canucks

The Canadian Press
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St. Louis Blues\' Patrik Berglund, right, of Sweden, scores a goal against Vancouver Canucks\' Jason LaBarbera during second period NHL action in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday January 9, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Author: The Hockey News

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Blues spoil Sundin's home debut with 6-4 win over Canucks

The Canadian Press
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VANCOUVER, B.C. - Brad Boyes' power play goal at 17:50 of the third period propelled the St. Louis Blues to 6-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Friday night.

The loss spoiled Mats Sundin's home debut with the Canucks. He was in the penalty box for slashing when Boyes broke a 4-4 tie. B.J. Crombeen then added an insurance marker.

David Backes, Patrik Berglund, Alex Steen and T.J. Oshie also tallied for the Blues as they won on the road for the first time in eight games.

Willie Mitchell scored twice and Jannik Hansen and Daniel Sedin also scored for Vancouver before the 235th consecutive sellout crowd of 18,630 at General Motors Place. Mitchell also had two assists.

St. Louis outshot the Canucks 36-22. The Blues went 1-for-5 on the power play while Vancouver was 1-for-2.

The Canucks were forced to rely on unlikely scorers as the Blues shut down top scorers Daniel and Henrik Sedin. Mats Sundin struggled at times in his home debut with the Canucks as he went pointless. The former Toronto Maple Leafs captain has yet to record a shot on goal in two games in a Vancouver uniform.

The crowd roared as Sundin came onto the ice for the first time 1:56 into the first period. He set up Mattias Ohlund on Vancouver's first shot, which St. Louis goaltender Manny Legace stopped.

Hansen gave Vancouver a 1-0 lead on Vancouver's second shot at 5:52 as he put a wrister from the high slot in off the crossbar. It was Hansen's first goal since Dec. 17 against Edmonton.

The marker came after he was unexpectedly sent to Manitoba of the AHL on Tuesday, scored a goal with the Moose on Wednesday, and was recalled to the Canucks on Thursday.

But then Vancouver's offence struggled. The Canucks failed to record a single shot during a power play, and the Blues didn't have many chances either.

The clubs combined for only five shots in the first eight and a half minutes.

Backes created a 1-1 tie at 16:44 as he quickly fired Yan Stastny's rebound past Canucks goaltender Jason LaBarbera, who made his fifth straight start after being acquired in a Dec. 30 trade from Los Angeles.

Mitchell gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead at 19:41 as he backhanded his own rebound in off St. Louis defenceman Mike Weaver's stick and Legace. It was Mitchell's first goal since Nov. 15 against Toronto.

The defensive defenceman has now matched the two goals he scored in 72 games last season, and doubled the lone marker he produced in the previous campaign.

In the second period, the Canucks managed only one shot in the first eight minutes. LaBarbera preserved the lead as he stopped Backes during a power play.

But the Blues eventually capitalized on Vancouver's offensive struggles. Berglund tied the game 2-2 at the 18-minute mark as he put a wrist shot over LaBarbera after he went down too early. Steen put the Blues ahead 3-2 just 59 seconds later as he deflect home Keith Tkachuk's shot from the right boards.

The Blues outshot the Canucks 11-3 in the middle frame.

Burrows drew the Canucks even again at 1:27 of the third as he deflected in Mitchell's slapshot. With the assist, his second of the game, Mitchell equalled his single-season career high of 14 points, which he set with Minnesota twice in back-to-back campaigns between 2002-2004.

Oshie put the Blues ahead 4-3 at 14:17 of the third as he whipped Carlo Colaiacovo's rebound through LaBarbera's legs. But Daniel Sedin tied things up 4-4 on a power play at 15:47.

NOTES: Centre Ryan Johnson returned to the Vancouver lineup after missing 20 games with a cracked foot and fractured right index finger. ... With Johnson back, the Canucks put centre Jason Jaffray on compulsory unrecallable waivers Friday before trying to send him down to Manitoba of the AHL. ... Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, out with a groin injury since Nov. 22, took shots during part of the club's morning skate, but his return date is still uncertain. ... Weaver played at GM Place for the first time since leaving the Canucks as a free agent in the off-season. ... Canadian coach Pat Quinn, who lives in West Vancouver, showed off the gold medal he garnered at the recent world junior championships.

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Blues spoil Sundin's home debut with 6-4 win over Canucks