Doug Weight stepped into the role with two third-period goals, scoring the winner on a breakaway to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 victory over Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. The Blues won their first game since trading Bill Guerin to San Jose and Keith Tkachuk to Atlanta.
“It’s tough,” Weight said. “Two of my great friends and a big part of our success we had are those guys.
“It was important to get back on the winning record, especially against this team which had been playing so well.”
Vancouver was on a 6-0-1 streak and had lost just three times since Dec. 22.
The Blues aren’t far off that pace, going 17-8-2 in their past 26 games. But most of those games came with leading scorer Guerin and top assist man Tkachuk.
Weight, who helped Carolina win a Stanley Cup last season before returning to the Blues as a free agent, said it was imperative for the veterans to take charge.
Petr Cajanek found Weight as he rushed in on the right side alone and then slapped it past Roberto Luongo to give St. Louis a 2-1 lead midway through the third. He added his second goal – and eighth of the season – on a 5-on-3 power play with just over two minutes left.
“We didn’t make a lot of mistakes but the ones that we made ended up in the back of the net,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said.
It was also the first game for the Canucks’ deadline pickups – Bryan Smolinski and Brent Sopel.
Curtis Sanford, filling in for injured Manny Legace, came close to earning a shutout after stopping 25 Vancouver shots. It appeared he stopped them all.
The Canucks were awarded their lone goal with seven minutes left in the second period, only after video goal judge Jerry Burt spent nearly 10 minutes reviewing the play. After Sanford fell down while making a kick save against Tommi Santala, the puck was knocked behind the goal where Daniel Sedin settled it and scored on a wraparound shot.
“The (Sedin) twins both said it was in the net and they’re both pretty honest people,” Vigneault said of Daniel and Henrik. “So if they said it was in the net, I figured it was a goal.”
The official behind the net, who was avoiding two players as Sedin took the shot and wasn’t directly facing the goal, ruled the puck did not cross the goal-line.
Despite allowing the goal, Sanford was pleased with the effort.
“I needed that one,” said Sanford, who was in net when the Blues lost 5-1 at Chicago on Sunday. “We had to bounce back from that and we did as a group today.”
Daniel Sedin’s team-leading 27th goal came just over a minute after the Blues struck first.
Radek Dvorak scored first, settling a bouncing back as he skated into the Vancouver zone. He sped past defenceman Sopel and around the back of the net before sending a sharp centring pass from the goal line to the stick of David Backes. Backes redirected it for his eighth goal – six in the past six games – to give St. Louis the short-lived 1-0 lead.
Notes: The Blues are 14-4-2 under coach Murray when outshot . . . Vancouver has outshot the Blues in all three games this season, including holding a 26-20 advantage on Tuesday . . . Eric Brewer assisted on Weight’s first goal and needs two for his 100th career assist.