A Blue streak

St. Louis Blues forward David Backes believes his team plays better when it is holding a grudge.

Backes scored twice to help visiting St. Louis beat the Vancouver Canucks, 3-1, late Sunday. After being swept out of the first round of the playoffs by the Canucks last season, the Blues have already beaten them twice this season.

"There's obviously a little vendetta," Backes said. "Maybe we should pretend every team kicked our dog before the game. I'm an animal advocate, by the way, but it seems like when teams show us up, we come back the next time and play a good hard game and get the best of them."

Tough customer

Pittsburgh's Jordan Staal left a pool of blood on the ice after being struck in the face by a puck in the second period of last night's 4-0 loss to New Jersey.

Staal returned early in the third period wearing a full face shield.

Senator snags singer

Carrie Underwood's publicist said that the country singer is engaged to 29-year-old Ottawa Senators center Mike Fisher.

No wedding date has been set for the couple. They have been dating for about a year.


The Dallas Stars placed defenseman Mark Fistric on injured reserve with a head injury and recalled Ivan Vishnevskiy from their AHL affiliate. . . . Phoenix made a roster switch of defensemen, signing NHL veteran Anders Eriksson and assigning David Schlemko to its AHL team in San Antonio.

- Associated Press