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BLUES 4, BRUINS 3

Blues have Bruins feeling low

St. Louis scores last-minute goals in regulation, OT

ST. LOUIS -- Chalk it up to a missed opportunity.

All the Bruins had to do was hang on for a half a minute. All they had to do was get the puck out of their own end and kill off the clock to ensure a victory last night.

Instead, a former Bruins fan ruined it for them. Left wing Keith Tkachuk -- a Medford, Mass., native and ex-Boston University Terrier -- beat Felix Potvin with 28.2 seconds left in regulation, and then center Doug Weight scored with a wrister from the right circle with 42 seconds remaining in overtime as the St. Louis Blues beat the Bruins, 4-3, at the Savvis Center.

It marked the third time this season the Bruins were defeated in OT after scoring the game's first goal (5-0-1-3 when they score first).

They had a 3-2 lead halfway through the third period and an opportunity to extend it when St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman was called for holding the stick with 2:29 left. Instead, with goalie Chris Osgood pulled from the net for an extra attacker and Jackman's penalty expired for less than a second, Tkachuk dashed the Bruins' hopes of a clean getaway.

If that wasn't bad enough, Osgood made a stellar save on left wing Sergei Samsonov in the extra session right before Weight put it away.

"Was it disappointing? Yeah," said coach Mike Sullivan. "We really battled back in the third period and were able to take the lead. We had an opportunity on the power play to put it away but we couldn't seem to get the timely goal. I thought we had a chance when they pulled the goalie down the stretch to hit the open net, so we had our opportunities. We had a great chance in overtime and Osgood makes a huge save on Samsonov and they come back down the ice and score. That's the kind of game it was."

After a scoreless first period, the Bruins started well in the second, taking the lead at 2:15 on right wing Marty Lapointe's fifth goal of the season. Lapointe picked off a poor clearing attempt by Osgood and went in alone, scoring with a forehander. The advantage, however, lasted less than three minutes.

The Blues, who outshot the Bruins by a 13-5 count in the second, tied it up at 4:53 when center Pavol Demitra scored on the rebound of a right point shot by defenseman Alexander Khavanov.

Later in the period, St. Louis went on top on Mark Rycroft's first NHL goal. Right wing Dallas Drake dished a pass from the left side for Rycroft, who beat Felix Potvin with a wrister to the glove side at 10:24.

Boston rallied to tie it just 1:20 into the third when captain Joe Thornton potted his fourth goal of the season. He took a pass from Glen Murray, and his blast from the slot hit the crossbar and beat Osgood to the glove side.

The Bruins went back ahead halfway through the period on defenseman Nick Boynton's first of the year. Thornton set up the strike when he dished a pass to left wing Mike Knuble. Knuble's hard shot from the slot was turned back by Osgood but Boynton came charging in for the rebound and put it into the net at 9:50.

The Blues thought they had pulled even with just under five minutes left but Demitra's stick was clearly above the crossbar when he batted in the puck, so the goal was waved off.

But the scores by Tkachuk and Weight counted, and in the end, the Bruins were counted out.

"When you battle back so hard like we did, it's very tough when they score in the last 30 seconds, and obviously they scored in overtime," said Thornton. "It's too bad we couldn't get the 2 points but we'll be happy with the 1. They're a good team and they came right after us. They kept on fighting, we have to give them credit."

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