Blues 8, Islanders 0
ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Cliff Ronning had two goals and an assist and Greg Millen recorded his second shutout of the season as the St. Louis Blues snapped a five-game winless streak with an 8-0 victory over the New York Islanders Thursday night.
The Blues, who entered the game with an NHL-low 73 goals in 22 games, matched their biggest single-game output of the season and recorded the second-biggest margin of victory in the franchise’s 22-year history.
The loss matched the Islanders’ worst-ever shutout loss and margin of defeat.
Brian Benning added a goal and three assists, Bernie Federko had a goal and an assist and Gaston Gingras had three assists for St. Louis, which was 0-4-1 in its previous five games.
Federko has six goals and 11 points in his last seven games.
New York’s road record fell to 1-10-2, worst in the league. Overall, the Islanders are 1-9-1 in their last 11 games.
Millen stopped 22 shots to record his 12th career shutout and gain his first victory since Oct. 29. He had made eight starts without a victory.
The Blues jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first period and scored three power- play goals in four attempts New York, ranked next-to-last in the league in penalty-killing.
Tony McKegney beat Islanders goaltender Billy Smith from the left circle during a power play 3:43 into the game. Steve Tuttle converted a perfect setup from Federko and Gino Cavallini at 9:50 and Federko banged in Benning’s pass from close range for another power-play goal at 17:56.
St. Louis broke the game open with three goals in a 2:43 span in the second period.
Ronning scored from the slot during a power play at 4:36 to make it 4-0. Peter Zezel, acquired from Philadelphia on Tuesday, scored his first goal with the Blues at 6:04 and Benning scored on a slapshot at 7:19 to make it 6-0. Smith was removed from the game in favor of Jeff Hackett at 8:18 of the second period. Hackett, making his first NHL appearance, allowed third-period goals by Tony Hrkac at 5:01 and Ronning at 10:42.
Benning, who has played in only 16 games and has been benched periodically by Coach Brian Sutter, had his best offensive game of the season.
″I’ve been feeling more comfortable out there,″ said Benning, who has three goals and eight assists. ″I went through some tough times. It’s settled me down a lot, but one guy didn’t win this game.″
Sutter downplayed Benning’s earlier problems.
″When Brian Benning wasn’t playing, he was in my doghouse, everyone was saying,″ Sutter said. ″People wrote that, they said that, but I wasn’t saying that.
″But he played a very good game tonight.″
Ronning has five goals and six assists in 10 games since being recalled from Peoria of the International Hockey League on Nov. 5.
Millen broke a personal losing streak in which he was 0-6-2.
″I probably played better technically in some of the games I lost than I did tonight,″ Millen said. ″You have to evaluate the way you are playing. I never like to lose, but I was playing pretty well in a lot of those other games.″
Islanders coach Terry Simpson was shaking his head after his team’s latest loss.
″This is going on and on and on,″ Simpson said. ″We’re just not getting enough effort from everybody.″