1/24/97 -- 12:28 AM


ST. LOUIS (AP) - The St. Louis Blues have come a long way since the final days of Mike Keenan.

On Dec. 15 - four days before Keenan was fired - the Blues were handed their worst home loss in 20 years when the Vancouver Canucks whipped them 8-0.

On Thursday night Brett Hull scored two third-period goals and got the game-winner with 1:14 to go as the Blues, after surrendering the lead earlier in the third, beat Vancouver 4-3.

Hull, who had seven shots and got his 22nd and 23rd goals, said the embarrassing loss was not on his mind.

``Not me. I don't worry about (stuff) like that,'' he said. ``What's the difference, 8-0 or 2-1 in overtime?''

``At that time we weren't really playing well as a team. We're a totally different team right now.''

He said it hasn't been tough adapting to Quenneville's system, taking a shot at Keenan in the process. Left alone to develop, the line of Hull, Pierre Turgeon and Geoff Courtnall has 20 goals in the last 12 games.

``It's pretty easy when you enjoy playing for a guy and are explained the way things are supposed to be and how he wants you to do it,'' Hull said. ``It's a line, it's not a revolving door. We talk and talk.''

Jamie Rivers tied it with his first career goal with 4:44 to play and Joe Murphy had a goal and an assist for the Blues, who are 4-2 under new coach Joel Quenneville. Geoff Courtnall and Pierre Turgeon each added two assists and Turgeon set up the game-winner as the Blues outshot the Canucks 34-15.

Quenneville was happy about everything except the Blues' slow start.

``Right off the bat, I'd like to see us come out with more fire,'' Quenneville said. ``But there's no question, the way we compete. we're in the game and we want to play hard.

```I like what I see in this team.''

Canucks coach Tom Renney noticed a big difference.

``They are definitely a more composed team,'' Renney said. ``They are a team that can apply pressure when they want to, and that's what they did tonight.

``They were more passionate toward this game, we knew that.''

On the tying goal, Murphy carried the puck from end to end before sliding a backhand pass to Rivers, a defenseman who scored on a slap shot just inside the right post. Hull had two shots in the winning sequence, and beat Kirk McLean with a quick shot between the pads.

``When you let him linger around the slot area you have to be a little closer to him than we were,'' McLean said. ``You have to be right on him to stop him, he gets the puck away so fast.''

The loss was the first in four games for Vancouver (2-1-1).

The Canucks took a 3-2 lead on third-period goals by Pavel Bure and Dave Roberts in a span of 24 seconds, livening up what had been a quiet night for the visitors.

The Canucks had only 12 shots before Bure was left with a wide-open right side of the net and took a few extra seconds before sliding it in for his 20th goal - and the 200th of his career - at 7:38 to tie it 3-3. Forechecking created a loose puck on the Canucks' next trip down the ice and Roberts, Bure's linemate, banged into an empty left side at 8:02.

Martin Gelinas set up both goals for the Canucks. But after the flurry, Vancouver had only one more shot.

Murphy's 12th goal gave the Blues the lead at 8:09 of the first period. Bret Hedican lost control of the puck in the Vancouver zone and Murphy broke in alone on McLean.

Russ Courtnall tied it at 16:18, beating Grant Fuhr on a 3-on-2 break.

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