12 20 10 canucks and blues Surging Canucks beat Blues 3 1

Vancouver Canucks Ryan Kesler (R) tries to push St. Louis Blues Matt D'Agostini pff of the puck in the first period at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on December 20, 2010. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Aaron Volpatti scored his first career goal and Ryan Kesler had his fourth in three games as the surging Vancouver Canucks beat the St. Louis Blues 3-1 on Monday night.

Jeff Tambellini scored a late power-play goal, Mikael Samuelsson had two assists and Roberto Luongo stopped 15 shots to earn his 13th career victory against the Blues in 22 games. Vancouver improved to 9-1-1 in its last 11 games.

Alex Steen scored for the Blues, his third goal in two games this season against the Canucks. St. Louis has one win in its last five games.

Volpatti took advantage of a Blues turnover in their zone, as Tanner Glass checked defenseman Alex Pietrangelo in the left corner to allow Alexandre Bolduc to center a puck to Volpatti, who beat Jaroslav Halak 7:12 into the second period for the first goal of the game.

Kesler made it 2-0 after the Canucks broke out on a 2-on-1 play, with Kesler keeping the puck and snapping a shot past Halak at 9:16 of the second.

The Blues, who were outshot 20-10 through two periods, finally got an opportunity and Steen cashed in on a backhander from the slot with 2:03 to play in the second to slice Vancouver’s lead to 2-1.

The Canucks, who came in with the third-ranked power play in the NHL, had four opportunities – including a 35-second stretch of 5-on-3 – to break a scoreless tie in the first period but were denied by the Blues each time.

Vancouver outshot St. Louis 12-3 in the opening 20 minutes.

Tambellini scored with 1:37 to play from the slot to give the Canucks a two-goal lead.

NOTES: Blues D Roman Polak (wrist) and Pietrangelo (upper-body) returned to the lineup. Polak missed 24 games with a severed tendon in his right wrist. Pietrangelo was out three games. … Canucks LW Daniel Sedin has 14 points in 11 games. C Henrik Sedin and Kesler each have 13 points in 11 games. … The Blues are in the middle of a 15-game stretch with 12 at home. … The Canucks were without LW Mason Raymond (thumb) and D Sami Salo (ankle). … Blues RW B.J. Crombeen played his 200th career game. … St. Louis was held to 16 shots, one off its lowest output of the season. … Halak stopped 26 shots.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press


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