ST. LOUIS (AP)—Before Thursday night, Scott Mellanby owned the dubious distinction of being the NHL’s leading active goal-scorer without a hat trick.
“I kind of enjoyed having that distinguishing fact, which kind of proves you’re mediocre for a long time,” Mellanby said. “But I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t like to have one.”
Mellanby has 323 career goals in 18 seasons, with a high of 32 in 1995-96 with the Florida Panthers. He has 23 this season, his first 20-plus season since he had 27 for the Panthers in 1996-97.
His teammates knew he’d never had a hat trick, so they were trying to help after he got two in the first period.
“It was a trivia question on “NHL Tonight” not long ago, so we knew he’d gone quite a long time,” defenseman Al MacInnis said. “It’s kind of strange, especially for him. He’s a big guy, but he’s got pretty good hands.”
Mellanby scored on all four of his shots, and all four goals came on power plays. This, after going without a goal in his previous eight games, with only two assists during that stretch.
“The second half of the season has been a bit of a dry spell for me,” Mellanby said. “I’ve struggled a little bit around the net and hopefully this will help me a little bit.”
Cory Stillman had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who outscored opponents 13-5 during the homestand. St. Louis won without Keith Tkachuk, serving the final game of a four-game suspension for cross-checking Minnesota’s Wes Walz.
Pavol Demitra had three assists, and MacInnis had two for the Blues, who trail the first-place Red Wings by two points in the Central Division heading into a showdown Friday night in Detroit. The Coyotes are in ninth place in the Western Conference, four points out of a playoff spot, and are 7-3-1 in their last 11 games.
“It was a difficult night for me,” Coyotes goalie Brian Boucher said. “Everything they shot got tipped. What can I say?”
Phoenix started Boucher in goal instead of Sean Burke, long-rumored in trade talks with the Blues. Rookie goalie Curtis Sanford played the entire homestand for the Blues, who have struggled with Brent Johnson and Fred Brathwaite. Sanford is 5-0.
Coyotes coach Bob Francis was perturbed that the Blues got 10 power plays.
“Penalties hurt us, the ones that were called and the ones that weren’t,” Francis said. “But you have to give St. Louis an awful lot of credit. We have to be responsible for the first period.”
Mellanby started the scoring when he deflected MacInnis’ slap shot at 7:13 of the first period, 10 seconds after Ossi Vaananen was whistled for holding. He slapped in a one-timed pass from Stillman on another power play at 18:06 of the first to make it 3-0.
Then he short-circuited the Coyotes’ third-period comeback when he deflected another MacInnis slap shot for his third goal at 5:13 of the third for a 4-2 lead.
The Coyotes narrowed the gap to one on goals by Andrei Nazarov and Daniel Briere in the first 2:58 of the third period. Nazarov scored on a power play, and Briere got his 17th during a 4-on-4 sequence.
Phoenix cut the deficit to a goal again on Daymond Langkow’s 17th goal on a rebound at 9:18. Then Mellanby answered with a mid-air deflection of a slap shot by Alexander Khavanov at 10:32 while Drake Berehowsky was serving a double minor for high sticking.
Stillman got his 19th at 14:22 of the first, creating a turnover in the Phoenix end and then deflecting a shot by Eric Boguniecki. Martin Rucinskyadded an empty-net goal with 1:11 to play.
Brett Hull was the last Blues player to score four goals, doing it Oct. 10, 1995, against the Oilers. … Coyotes F Paul Ranheim played in his 1,000th career game. … MacInnis is expected to become the 20th NHL player to play in 1,400 games on Friday at Detroit. … The Blues won the season series 2-1-1over the Coyotes.