for this game

Rucinsky tallies twice as Blues beat Oilers

Nov 12, 2006 - 9:59 PM ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- The struggling St. Louis Blues found the perfect opponent.

Martin Rucinsky scored twice and Lee Stempniak added a goal and an assist as the Blues beat the Edmonton Oilers, 5-3.

Curtis Sanford recorded 30 saves for St. Louis, which improved to 2-5-1 in its last eight games.

"We were much more responsible in our play," St. Louis coach Mike Kitchen said. "We played well, but we needed to win a game. We are trying to find our way and confidence is a part of the deal."

Brad Winchester scored twice for the Oilers, who have lost seven of their last nine games and dropped to 1-2-1 during their five-game road trip.

"The last week has been great for me, but we really need to do a lot better than this, and it is hurting us in a big way," Winchester said.

The Blues scored the first two goals of the second period to take a 3-1 edge. Rucinsky took a feed from Bill Guerin charging up left wing. He pulled up in the faceoff circle and sent a wrister between goaltender Jussi Markkanen's pads just two minutes in for his fourth of the season.

"We played with desperation all afternoon," Stempniak said. "In the past, we would get down by a couple of goals and then come out and play with a lot of desperation and urgency. We're a much better team when we do that all game and we showed it today."

Jay McClement's one-timer off a rebound of defenseman Eric Brewer's drive from the right of the slot made it 3-1 with 1:21 to play in the period.

Winchester's second tally of the game and third of the season with five seconds left in the second cut the Oilers' deficit to 3-2, but Stempniak scored his eighth of the season on the backhand, beating Markkanen on the short side to restore a two-goal edge 6:08 into the third.

"I knew there was pressure coming from the back," Stempniak said. "I just wanted to use a boost off of him and get a shot."

"That fourth goal hurt us getting back in the game, and we've seemingly done that a lot this year," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "The game isn't rocket science. It's a simple game - you get it in deep, you don't make mistakes and you support one another."

After failing 26 straight times over six games, Edmonton's power play finally came through when Fernando Pisani launched a slap shot from just inside the blue line that got by Sanford, who was screened by several Oilers. It was Pisani's first point in five games.

But despite several rushes in the game's final minutes, Sanford held firm to improve to 4-0 all-time against Edmonton.

"We were always making sure we cleared the puck out today and we have to keep working at it," Sanford said.

Rucinsky's empty-netter with four seconds left sealed the victory.

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