ST. LOUIS (AP) — Radim Vrbata had a goal and assist, and Eddie Lack made 23 saves as the Vancouver Canucks opened a four-game trip with a 4-1 victory over the struggling St. Louis Blues on Monday night.
Zbynek Michalek scored for the Blues, who never led and missed a chance to clinch a playoff spot with a victory. St. Louis has lost two straight at home, has one win its last six games overall, and remained one point shy of a seventh 100-point season.
Nick Bonino netted the go-ahead goal midway through the second period, just 31 seconds after the Blues tied it on Michalek’s first goal since Jan. 31.
Shawn Matthias also scored for Vancouver, which strengthened its hold on second place in the Pacific Division.
Vrbata’s 31st goal gave Vancouver its first two-goal lead early in the third on a shot that deflected off goalie Brian Elliott’s stick.
Alexandre Burrows added an empty-net goal for the Canucks, who beat St. Louis for the third time this season and sixth in a row overall. Vancouver is better on the road (23-12-3) than at home (21-15-2).
The Canucks had perfect timing on a line change for both teams to take the lead early in the second. The Blues were caught off-guard, and Matthias jumped on ice in time for a breakaway at 3:54.
Elliott came out of the net to cut down the angle on a shot by Kevin Bieksa that was well wide, and Bonino had an easy tap-in for his 15th goal at 13:15.
The Blues were scoreless in the first period for the 10th straight game, but the Canucks failed to capitalize on a few big chances. Michalek covered an empty net to stymie Henrik Sedin early in the period after Elliott mishandled the puck. Elliott made a pad save to stop a break-in by Derek Dorsett.
NOTES: Blues F Alexander Steen (knee) was out, but he could return to the lineup on Thursday against Calgary. … Vrbata has 29 points in his last 30 games. … The attendance of 19,204 was the Blues’ 19th home sellout. … Bonino has three goals and an assist this season against St. Louis. … Lack is 5-0 against the Blues.
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