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David Perron snaps slump, helps fast-starting Blues beat Wild 3-1

ST. LOUIS - David Perron took a move to the St. Louis Blues' checking line as an opportunity, not a demotion.

The slick-skating forward had a goal and an assist for his first points of the season, helping the St. Louis Blues shake off slow-starting woes to beat the Minnesota Wild 3-1 on Friday night.

"Obviously, they want me to play my game and be aggressive on the puck," Perron said. "That's how we're going to get the scoring chances, and that's what we did.

"I'm looking forward to keep playing with these guys."

The checking line produced the first two goals for St. Louis, which won for the first time at home after a pair of losses. Jay McClement scored in the opening minute on a rebound.

Coach Andy Murray demoted another young forward to the checking line last week, helping T.J. Oshie bust out of a slump while playing alongside McClement and B.J. Crombeen.

"I just told Jay and B.J. they saved another guy," Murray said. "Who do we put there tomorrow night to get going?"

Chuck Kobasew had a second-period goal for the Wild, who have lost seven straight on the road - four shy of the franchise record. Minnesota has been outscored 25-12 during the slump.

"You have to figure out by now how to be ready when the game starts," goalie Niklas Backstrom said. "We can't afford to do this every night."

The Blues opened the season with a pair of come-from-behind victories over Detroit in Sweden before losing two straight at home, and needed strong defence and 20 saves from Chris Mason to hang on at the finish. St. Louis got no shots the first 15:35 of the third and was 0-for-5 on the power play, but held Minnesota to only four chances in the third period.

"The third period was textbook," Mason said. "We didn't give them anything. We didn't get anything but we shut them down."

St. Louis totalled three shots in the third period, putting the game away on Brad Boyes' empty-net goal with 14.4 seconds to go. The three shots tied the Blues' lowest total of the season, in the first period of a 5-1 loss at Pittsburgh on Tuesday.

"I really thought we were going to get the tying goal in the third," Minnesota coach Todd Richards said. "There really wasn't a lot of room out there."

The 21-year-old Perron was third on the team with 50 points last season but had been blanked on 11 shots and was minus-4 the first seven games.

The Blues dominated early, outshooting their opponent for the first time in the first period while ringing up a 15-4 advantage. McClement tapped in a rebound for his second goal at 56 seconds and the lead against a team that had been outscored 9-4 in the first period.

Perron assisted on that goal and then scored his first of the season short-handed on a 2-on-1 break with McClement to make it 2-0 early in the second.

The Wild made it a one-goal game again on Kobasew's first of the season on a tap-in with 1:18 to go in the second.

NOTES: Boyes, the Blues' leading scorer the last two seasons, has only two goals. ... The Blues have won four of five against the Wild and haven't lost at home to Minnesota since Oct. 20, 2007. ... Kobasew's goal was only the Wild's eighth at even strength, compared with 10 power-play goals. ... St. Louis was outshot 88-44 in the first period the first seven games.


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