ATLANTA – St. Louis centre Andy McDonald finished the pre-season with an NHL-best 13 points, scoring his fourth goal and adding an assist to help the Blues beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-1 on Saturday night.
Lee Stempniak had three assists and Brad Boyes added one, giving McDonald’s line 35 points in its five pre-season games. Stempniak finished with 12 points and Boyes 10, each scoring five goals.
St. Louis was 4-2-1 in the pre-season and Atlanta 1-5-0. The Thrashers were outscored 29-14 and lost their last five games.
The Blues held Atlanta without a shot for the first nine minutes and took a 2-0 lead in the first period on goals by Roman Polak and McDonald. Polak beat goalie Kari Lehtonen on a slap shot with 3:20 left and McDonald blasted a shot by the Atlanta goalie on a power-play rush with 1:08 remaining.
Paul Kariya scored with a two-man advantage at 8:20 of the second period to make it 3-0. All three of Kariya’s pre-season goals came on the power play.
St. Louis goalie Manny Legace stopped 13 shots in the first two periods before making way for Chris Mason in the third. Brett Sterling scored Atlanta’s goal on a power-play rebound with 7:10 remaining.
Patrik Berglund made it a three-goal edge again for the Blues, taking a pass from Kariya on the rush and beating Lehtonen with 2:03 left. Lehtonen faced 38 shots.
Mathieu Schneider made his debut with the Thrashers after being acquired from Anaheim last week and assisted on Sterling’s goal. The veteran defenceman was paired with rookie Zach Bogosian, the third overall pick in the NHL draft.
The Thrashers cut their roster to 26 players, three above the maximum. They sent centre Grant Stevenson, defenceman Arturs Kulda and goalie Ondrej Pavelec to Chicago of the AHL, and released defenceman Jamie Rivers.