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Miller helps Blues to 2-1 win over Avalanche

Saturday, 08 March 2014 17:38 Published in Sports
 
DENVER (AP) -- Ryan Miller stopped 26 shots, and David Backes broke up a scoreless game in the second period, helping the St. Louis Blues beat the surging Colorado Avalanche 2-1 Saturday in a Central Division showdown.
 
Patrik Berglund added a pivotal insurance goal early in the third period as the Blues won their fourth straight.
 
Colorado finally solved Miller midway through the final period when P.A. Parenteau lifted a shot over him while he was trying for his first shutout in nearly two years. Miller is 4-0 since being acquired from Buffalo.
 
Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon had his point streak snapped at 13 games. It is the NHL's longest streak by an 18-year-old player.
 
Miller withstood a furious rally by the Avalanche in the final two minutes after they pulled goalie Semyon Varlamov.
 
The division-leading Blues are five points ahead of Colorado.
 
St. Louis also improved to a league-best 17-0-1 in division games. The Blues have outscored the Avs 13-5 in taking all three games in the season series. The teams will meet again on April 5 in St. Louis.
 
This was a frustrating afternoon for the Avalanche as their four-game winning streak was halted. Early on, they couldn't sneak anything past Miller, even hitting the post twice. They also lost one of their top offensive players when Paul Stastny went out with a back injury after his opening shift.
 
Berglund gave St. Louis a 2-0 cushion at 3:53 of the final period when he gobbled up the puck down low, spun and lined it over the glove of Varlamov.
 
Moments later, Parenteau beat Miller after receiving a pass from Matt Duchene.
 
With 6:05 remaining, Gabriel Landeskog had a chance to tie it after getting loose in front, but Miller rose up to stop it.
 
St. Louis made it 1-0 at 7:03 of the second period on a play set up by a long pass from defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who has thrived against his former team since he was traded three years ago.
 
Deep in his own end, Shattenkirk sent a pass to T.J. Oshie, who, as he was falling down, slid the puck to Backes. From there, Backes guided the puck past Varlamov's left skate.
 
Shattenkirk has four goals and five assists in 12 games against Colorado.
 
Both teams had a failed power play in the first period and eight shots. Miller had the save of the period when he stopped a point-blank shot from Parenteau with his left shoulder.
 
At one point, Colorado's Patrick Bordeleau made his way back to the bench following a big hit, and was pushed by Barret Jackman, then by Ryan Reaves and finally by Maxim Lapierre in a comical scene.
 
NOTES: Blues coach Ken Hitchcock tied Ron Wilson for seventh place on the NHL career wins list with 648. ... Miller has stopped 84 of 90 shots since his arrival in St. Louis. ... Colorado had 13 of its 27 shots in the final period.

US EMPLOYERS ADD 175K JOBS DESPITE HARSH WEATHER

Friday, 07 March 2014 07:37 Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. hiring improved in February from the previous two months despite a blast of wintry weather, likely renewing hopes that growth will accelerate this year.

The Labor Department says employers added 175,000 jobs last month, up from just 129,000 in January, which was revised up from 113,000.

The unemployment rate rose to 6.7 percent from a five-year low 6.6 percent. More Americans started looking for work but didn't find jobs. That's still an encouraging sign because more job hunters suggest that people were more optimistic about their prospects.

The figures were a welcome surprise after recent economic reports showed that harsh weather closed factories, lowered auto sales, and caused existing-home sales to plummet.

Cole's goal, assist lead Blues over Predators 2-1

Thursday, 06 March 2014 23:11 Published in Sports
 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Ian Cole had a goal and an assist to lead the St. Louis Blues to their third straight win, 2-1 win over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.
 
Magnus Paajarvi had the other goal for the Blues, who have won all four of their games against Nashville this season.
 
Ryan Miller stopped 20 shots to win his third game in as many starts since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Nick Spaling scored for the Predators, losers of six of seven.
 
Cole scored the game's first goal at 4:03 of the opening period after Steve Ott won a faceoff in the left circle and Cole beat Nashville goaltender Pekka Rinne with a wrist shot high to the far side.
 
Ott's assist was his first point as a Blue.
 
Nashville drew even at 10:28 of the first on Spaling's 11th goal of the season.
 
From the right half boards, Patric Hornqvist sent a pass in front, where Spaling tipped the puck high over Miller's right shoulder.
 
St. Louis regained the lead at 8:18 of the second on Paajarvi's sixth of the season.
 
Paajarvi took a pass from Roman Polak in the neutral zone and then skated into the Nashville zone on the right side, where he cut into the right faceoff circle and beat Rinne with a quick wrist shot.
 
Alexander Steen was awarded a penalty shot at 15:27 of the second period after being fouled from behind on a breakaway, but Rinne gloved down Steen's wrist shot from the right side.
 
Steen has converted one of two penalty shot attempts this season, while Rinne has turned aside the two that he has faced.
 
NOTES: Hornqvist's assist was the 100th of his career. . Nashville C Mike Fisher has points in five consecutive games, equaling a season high. . The Blues are 34-1-4 when scoring first this season
 

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