Blues 2, Panthers 0

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ST. LOUIS (AP)—Chris Osgood might have ended the St. Louis Blues’ search for a true No. 1 goalie.

Osgood made 21 saves for his 39th career shutout in the Blues’ 2-0 victory over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.

“He stepped up big and let us get our bearings straight,” Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said.

The shutout was the first of the season for Osgood, and third in 20 regular-season games with St. Louis. His toughest period was the first, when he made seven saves, including stops on two 2-on-1 breaks.

The Blues used seven goalies last year, including Osgood, who was acquired at the trade deadline from the New York Islanders. This year, Osgood is the clear No. 1, and he’s playing like it.

“He’s moving well, and he’s finding the puck. And outside of his net, he’s working with his (defense) well,” Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. “He’s definitely healthy and you can see the way he’s in control.”

Osgood said he’s just stuck to the basics.

“They have two really talented lines, guys that are fast,” he said. “I just tried to stay patient, not go down too early and follow the puck.”

Keith Tkachuk supplied the offense for St. Louis, scoring both goals off assists from Pavol Demitra. Tkachuk was tending to a family matter after the game and was unavailable for comment. He’s scored the winning in three straight games for the Blues, who have won five of their last six.

“They’re boring to play against,” Florida’s Lyle Odelein said. “There’s no room out there. You throw the puck in the middle, they’ll pick it off. That’s what they did to us all night.”

Osgood is fine with that.

“We have to be consistent and play our same style every game,” he said. “That’s what’s going to get us where we want to be in the end.”

Florida coach Mike Keenan said his team lost the game in the first 20 minutes.

“The difference was the first period,” Keenan said. “We weren’t as sharp and as a result, you’re not quite as quick.”

St. Louis didn’t miss center Doug Weight, who was serving the first of a four-game suspension for cross-checking Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin in the face. The Blues are 78-40-16-9 over the last three seasons when Weight is in the lineup, and 15-14-3-2 without him.

Florida fell to 0-5-0-0 against Western Conference opponents. The Panthers also continued to struggle in St. Louis, where they are 1-7-1-0 in their last nine games. Florida’s only win at the Savvis Center came on Nov. 23, 1996.

Tkachuk gave the Blues all the offense they would need when he scored his first goal 7:18 in on a 4-on-1 break. Demitra carried the puck in on right wing and slid it across to Tkachuk, who tapped it past Roberto Luongo.

That combination worked at 10:02 of the second period with the Blues on the power play. This time, Tkachuk deflected home Demitra’s slap shot from the topof the right circle while standing in the slot.

Notes

Jackman returned to the lineup after missing the previous six games with a dislocated shoulder. … Florida hadn’t been shut out since being blanked 3-0 at Washington on April 1, 2003. … St. Louis is 6-0-0-1 whenTkachuk scores.

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Three Stars

  Game Winning Goal
K. Tkachuk K. Tkachuk
St. Louis Blues
Scored at 7:18 of 1st

Goaltending

Goalie Team Shot Save
Roberto Luongo Fla 22 20
Steve Shields Wpg 6 6