Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Devils Win a Giveaway after Defensive Lapse, Blues Fall Apart in 5-1 Loss

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Devils Win a Giveaway after Defensive Lapse, Blues Fall Apart in 5-1 Loss

Article excerpt

Here was another of those mishaps that makes Bob Berry's stomach go bad.

With his Blues and the New Jersey Devils tied 1-1 late in the first period, Blues center Igor Korolev knocked fellow Russian Valeri Zelepukin off the puck in the Blues' zone.

Blues winger Vitali Karamnov claimed it, then inexplicably threw it back toward Korolev a few feet away. Passing the puck toward your own net is seldom wise, especially if an opponent is waiting for it. Zelepukin stole the pass, threw it into the slot and watched Bill Guerin's tee shot give the Devils a 2-1 lead.

And that was that. New Jersey rolled on to a 5-1 victory over the Blues on Monday night at the Meadowlands.

Opponents operate with a thin margin of error against the stingy Devils, who carried the National Hockey League's sixth-best record into the game. The Blues couldn't recover from that mindless giveaway.

"But there wasn't one turning point in the game," Berry said. "That's a very sound club over there. A big, hard-working team. They just kept coming after us, and we didn't respond very well.

"It's that time of the year if you're going to win a game, you have to go out and earn it. Tonight, we didn't deserve to earn anything."

Guerin added a second goal and an assist. Bobby Holik, Corey Millen and Bobby Carpenter had the other Devils goals and Zelepukin had three assists. Devils goaltender Martin Brodeur stopped 30 shots, ending a personal winless skid at five games.

For the second time in three games, Blues goaltender Curtis Joseph was relieved by backup Jim Hrivnak to start the third period. Joseph had allowed four goals on 28 shots.

Brett Hull scored his 43rd goal of the season for the Blues, but it was small consolation. Once again the Blues baffled him.

"There was not a lot of effort out there, I don't know if you could notice," Hull said. "It doesn't seem like anybody gives a (darn). But there are guys who do, you can see it in their faces."

This is shaping up as a feast-or-famine trip for the Blues. They opened with a horrid 6-0 loss at Quebec, then hammered Ottawa 11-1 before taking this lopsided loss. The journey ends tonight on Long Island against the streaking Islanders. …

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