COLUMBUS, Ohio – David Vyborny scored two goals and Marc Denis stopped 24 shots to help the Columbus Blue Jackets beat St. Louis 3-1 on Wednesday night, extending the Blues’ franchise-record losing streak to nine games.

Manny Malhotra and Nikolai Zherdev each had two assists for the Blue Jackets, who came in having scored the fewest goals (28) in the NHL. Columbus, which ended a four-game losing streak, has won its last three home games.

The loss kept St. Louis winless on the road (0-4-2). Lee Stempniak scored a power-play goal in the final minute to avoid the shutout.

Two fights broke out after the game ended, with the officials taking several minutes to clear the ice and send the players back to the locker rooms.

Vyborny opened the scoring at 17:21 of the first period after Malhotra skated behind the net and flipped the puck into the slot with a wraparound move. Vyborny was alone in the slot and went high over Patrick Lalime’s right shoulder to extend his points streak to six games. Vyborny has goals in the last three games.

St. Louis mustered five shots in the opening period, none during a 5-on-3 advantage that lasted more than a minute.

Both Malhotra and Zherdev also assisted on Vyborny’s second goal. Zherdev and Vyborny passed back and forth on a 2-on-1 rush, with Vyborny again going high with the shot to beat Lalime at 2:07 of the second.

Denis wasn’t tested most of the night and didn’t give up a goal until the 25th and final shot by the Blues. Petr Cajanek’s centering pass from the back boards found Stempniak in the slot and he scored his second goal with 36 seconds remaining.

The Blues failed to score on their first eight power plays before Stempniak’s goal. The Blue Jackets were 0-for-3 with a man advantage.

Lalime had 20 saves for the Blues.

Notes: Columbus was opening a four-game homestand. … The Blues have dominated the series, 13-5-3-1. … The Blue Jackets are playing without Rick Nash, their leading goal-scorer in 2003-2004. He’ll be out until mid-December with a sprained knee. … St. Louis’ Mike Sillinger had his four-game points streak end, as did the seven-game points streak of Columbus’ Bryan Berard.

AP-ES-11-09-05 2145EST


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