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Coyotes 3, Blues 0

December 6, 1996

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Darcy Wakaluk isn’t looking for his first victory over the St. Louis Blues anymore.

``I’m sure they wanted to get a lot of rubber on me early and get one by, but that didn’t happen,″ Wakaluk said after leading the Phoenix Coyotes to a 3-0 win over the Blues on Thursday night.

``I was really able to focus tonight and see all the shots, particularly from the point.″

Wakaluk, who had been 0-7-3 against the Blues, blocked 33 shots to earn his ninth career shutout, and said his poor record against St. Louis had not been bothering him.

``It’s just another game when I go against them,″ he said. ``I’ve played a lot of good games against them.″

Wakaluk, who came to Phoenix as a free agent this year, has nine career shutouts and is 3-1-1 in the five games he has started this season.

Coyotes coach Don Hay said Wakaluk gave the team a big lift at the start of a six-game road trip.

``(It was) something we had to have,″ Hay said.

The Coyotes, who allowed their opponents to score first in 17 games this year, made the most of getting an early lead, Hay said.

``That’s unusual for us to get out in front, and it shows that it makes a big difference when you score first,″ Hay said.

The Blues, who were shut out for the second straight game for the first time since 1978, have lost three in a row and four of their last five. The two shutouts are the first against the Blues this season. The Blues lost 2-0 to Toronto on Tuesday.

Blues coach Mike Keenan had little to say about the team’s lack of scoring. ``Anytime you lose, either at home or on the road, it’s embarrassing when you’re accustomed to winning,″ Keenan said.

Keenan said he did not speak to the players after the game. ``Some guys worked hard, but not all of them,″ he said.

The Coyotes are 3-2-1 in their last six contests and beat the Blues for the first time in three games this season.

The Coyotes scored their first goal at 3:50 of the first period when Bob Corkum deflected a shot from the top of the left faceoff circle by Dallas Drake past Grant Fuhr.

Mike Gartner scored his 14th at 11:20 of the second to give the Coyotes a 2-0 lead. Gartner scored on a power play after Rob Pearson was charged with goaltender interference for knocking Wakaluk down in the crease.

The Blues outshot the Coyotes 33-29, but Wakaluk did not have many tough chances. During one power play in the second period the Blues had a 3-on-1 breakway against Wakaluk and did not get a shot.

Oleg Tverdovsky, who also had two assists, scored on a breakaway at 13:05 of the third to make the score 3-0.

Many in the crowd, announced as 16,459, booed the Blues as they skated off the ice at the end of the game. The Blues had only two shots in the last 10 minutes of the game.

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