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NHL roundup

Halak stops ex-teammates

Canadiens can’t solve netminder

Ryan Reaves of the Blues tangles with Canadiens defenseman Paul Mara during the second period of St. Louis’s win. Ryan Reaves of the Blues tangles with Canadiens defenseman Paul Mara during the second period of St. Louis’s win. (Tom Graham/Associated Press)
Associated Press / March 11, 2011

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Jaroslav Halak made 27 saves in his first game against his former Montreal teammates to help the Blues beat the Canadiens, 4-1, last night in St. Louis.

Andy McDonald had a goal and two assists, and Matt D’Agostini, another ex-Canadien, added a goal and an assist for St. Louis.

The Blues’ faint playoff hopes remained alive with their third win in a row as Halak, a playoff star for Montreal last season, got back at his former team in the process, outdueling Carey Price.

Price stopped 23 shots, but the Canadiens saw their five-game winning streak come to an end. David Backes had a goal and T.J. Oshie added a shorthanded empty-netter for the Blues.

Jeff Halpern scored for Montreal.

McDonald gave the Blues a 2-1 lead 1:06 into the second after D’Agostini poked the puck away from Benoit Pouliot in the offensive zone. McDonald found himself alone in front of Price and snapped a wrister past the blocker side.

Halpern opened the scoring for the Canadiens on Alexandre Picard’s feed into the low slot, redirecting the puck past Halak 12:30 into the opening period. Backes tied it with his 24th of the season off McDonald’s faceoff win with a quick shot from the slot, beating Price with 1:01 left in the first.

D’Agostini sealed the game by converting McDonald’s feed into the slot with 1:29 remaining.

Flyers 3, Maple Leafs 2 — Brian Boucher made 27 saves and Claude Giroux’s second-period goal stood up as the winner in Philadelphia’s victory in Toronto.

Andrej Meszaros and Darroll Powe also scored for East-leading Philadelphia, playing without top defenseman Chris Pronger because of an upper-body injury.

Mikhail Grabovski and Joffrey Lupul scored for Toronto. The Maple Leafs have lost three straight, hurting their bid to climb into playoff position.

Meszaros opened the scoring on the ensuing power play, blasting home his sixth at 4:55.

Powe got his sixth of the season at 9:36 of the second period after squirting a low shot from an awkward angle along the goal line between James Reimer’s legs.

Grabovski gave Toronto a brief shot of life with the most painful of his 26 goals this season. He was standing at the side of the goal when Dion Phaneuf’s point shot ricocheted off his visor and past Brian Boucher at 11:13.

Toronto pushed hard for the tying goal immediately after that — Boucher robbed Colby Armstrong with his glove — until Giroux put the Flyers ahead, 3-1, with 5:20 left in the period.

Senators 2, Panthers 1 — Defenseman Erik Karlsson scored twice in the last 8:48 as Ottawa beat host Florida.

Former Panthers backup Craig Anderson stopped 33 shots and came within 4:13 of his second shutout since being acquired in a trade from Colorado Feb. 18. He outdueled his former goalie partner in Florida, Tomas Vokoun, who stopped 37 shots.

Coyotes 3, Flames 0 — At Glendale, Ariz., Ilya Bryzgalov made 39 saves for his sixth shutout of the season and 22d overall in Phoenix’s victory over Calgary.

Phoenix moved into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference with Calgary and Chicago, winning for the first time in regulation since Feb. 19.

Rookie Brett MacLean scored in the second period, Eric Belanger added a goal in the third, and captain Shane Doan had an empty-netter with 1:56 remaining.

Predators 4, Wild 0 — Joel Ward and Martin Erat each had a goal and assist in the first period, and Nashville beat Minnesota to start a five-game homestand.

Nick Spaling scored two goals and Pekka Rinne stopped 19 shots. David Legwand added two assists. Nashville took the season series, 3-1, winning the last three by a margin of 13-1.

Canucks 5, Sharks 4 — Cory Schneider made 44 saves and stopped all three attempts in the shootout and Alexandre Burrows scored in the second round of the tiebreaker in visiting Vancouver’s win.

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