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'Wild' Blues close in on playoff spot

THE St. Louis Blues moved to within a point of a playoff berth in the tight Western Conference standings with a 5-3 win over the Minnesota Wild on Sunday.

The Blues scored three of their goals on powerplays, which had counted against Minnesota, its coach Jacques Lemaire said.

"We had penalties at the wrong time," Lemaire told reporters. "We had two penalties and they got three goals. They scored two on 5-on-3 and one 4-on-3.

"We've got to try and play at our best and make the least mistakes possible."

The Blues pulled into a tie for 10th in the West with the Wild on 72 points, leaving them just one point behind Edmonton and Nashville for the final playoff spot with 13 games remaining.

"You hardly ever see that against a team like Minnesota, giving up that many penalties and us capitalizing on them," said the Blues' Keith Tkachuk.

"It was huge. We got some quality opportunities on the 5-on-3s. That was nice."

Elsewhere in the National Hockey League, it was: Rangers 4, Flyers 1; Penguins 6, Bruins 4; Islanders 4, Blackhawks 2; Red Wings 4, Blue Jackets 0; Sharks 1, Ducks 0; and Canucks 4, Avalanche 2.

In St. Louis, David Perron, Brad Boyes, David Backes, Brad Winchester and Tkachuk scored for the Blues while Chris Mason made 19 saves.

The Wild trailed 1-4 while being out-shot 11-29 over the first two periods, before they scored twice in the third period.

Boyes, however, scored into an empty net in the final minute to seal the win.

"We came back strong in the third period, but we have to play better than we did in the first two periods if we are going to win games," Lemaire said.

Andrew Brunette, Stephane Veilleux and Marc-Andre Bergeron scored for Minnesota.

In New York, Sean Avery scored two powerplay goals and drew a pair of penalties to lead the Rangers to victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.

Nik Antropov also scored a man-advantage goal for the Rangers, who matched their season-high with three powerplay tallies on nine chances to split the weekend series. New York, which began the day eighth in the Eastern Conference, moved within four points of fourth-place Philadelphia. The teams have two meetings remaining.


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