Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo makes a save against the St. Louis Blues during first period hockey action at the Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Sunday on Dec. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jonathan Hayward)
VANCOUVER - The St. Louis Blues pulled a few pins out of the voodoo doll Sunday night.
They also got two goals and an assist from Alex Steen to beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 and exorcise a five-game losing streak.
It seemed the Blues’losses would continue after centre Andy McDonald suffered an upper body injury on the play where the Oilers scored the overtime winner Saturday in Edmonton.
That injury came after St. Louis lost David Perron and T.J. Oshie from their forward ranks, so when captain Eric Brewer was asked how the club is handling all the adversity, he replied:
“Basically, just stay away from the voodoo doll. When guys are going down, just a goofy play like (McDonald’s injury) last night, you’ve just got to shake your head. But it’s an opportunity for somebody else.”
Steen was one of those who got the extra ice time and made the most of it as Vancouver lost for the first time in five games.
He opened the scoring by outwaiting Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo before burying linemate Mike D’Agostini’s rebound.
He scored his game-winner by pouncing on a puck when the Blues lost a draw to Ryan Kesler in the Canuck zone.
Steen stepped around defender Christian Ehrhoff and whipped a backhand shot past Luongo at 6:11 of the third period.
“I just jumped it through, trying to cheat and get through first and luckily it just came out to me,”Steen said of his game-winning effort, his seventh goal of the season and third in three games.
“It was a gritty team effort. We knew collectively we had to play a solid game tonight and it’s tough when you lose three guys ... but we really came together as a group tonight.”
D’Agostini gave the Blues a 2-1 lead when a Brewer point shot hit the stick of Canuck Henrik Sedin and bounced in off the St. Louis forward’s skate.
“He’s always skating,”D’Agostini said of Steen, a Winnipeg native in his third season with St. Louis.“It seems like he never gets tired out there.
“He was flying and (linemate Jay McClement’s) sound and smart as always and we just found a couple of chances early and Steener put one in and one hit my toe.”
St. Louis coach Davis Payne said Steen played heads-up hockey.
“It was a very good night for him,”Payne said.“He found a way to make the right plays.”
St. Louis, which had a 9-1-2 start to their season, improved to 13-9-4 and vacated the Central Division cellar.
The Canucks, who got goals from Jannik Hansen and Kevin Bieksa, fell to 14-8-3 but remained atop the Northwest Division, two points ahead of idle Colorado.
Ehrhoff said he didn’t react well when Steen beat him to the puck that snapped a 2-2 tie.
“I've got to try to get a quicker jump there and cheat a little bit and not let him get in on that,”Ehrhoff said.“It's unfortunate that happens on the winning goal.”
Luongo, who made a season-high eighth straight start for Vancouver, said the game-winner came on a broken play.
“He got in the slot on the backhand and the puck was rolling,”Luongo said.“It's tough to read a shot like that, and it hit the post and went in.”
The loss came after winning both games of a road trip, including a 3-0 victory Friday over playoff nemesis Chicago Blackhawks.
"It's our own fault,”said Kesler.“We weren't ready to play tonight.
“It doesn't matter who we're playing in this league, it's hard to win games. Too many turnovers, too many penalties. If we do that we're not going to win a hockey game."
NOTES: Vancouver entered the game with the league’s top power play but went 0-for-5 ... Canuck winger Mason Raymond and defenceman Andrew Alberts were sidelined by the flu ... Vancouver recalled forward Alex Bolduc from AHL Manitoba ... Bolduc played two games for the Moose after going down with a high anklesprain in Vancouver’s first game of the season ... Canuck defenceman Dan Hamhuis played his 500th NHL game ... 483 of those came as a Nashville Predator ... St. Louis plays 10 home games in December.