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N.Y. metro teams stumbling

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So far, it's been a no-win situation for NHL teams in the New York metropolitan area.

The New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils are a combined 0-6-0 and have been outscored 21-7."The game is played so much on confidence, and our players seem to be heading the other way," Wayne Gretzky said Monday night after his Rangers lost 4-2 at home to St. Louis, their third straight defeat at the start of the season. "We were flat-footed, not sure what to do when we had the puck."

The Islanders, meanwhile, were beaten 3-0 at Boston to drop to 0-2-0. The Devils lost their opener on Saturday, 2-1 at Chicago.

Defenseman Al MacInnis scored three straight goals to key the Blues' victory.

"It just seemed like one of those nights the puck had eyes," MacInnis said.

MacInnis scored the natural hat trick during a 12-minute span in the first period. St. Louis made it 4-0 with a goal from Geoff Courtnall at 9:05 of the second off Dan Cloutier, who replaced Rangers starting goalie Mike Richter at the start of the period.

Brian Leetch and Alexander Karpovtsev scored for New York, which has been outscored 12-3 in its three losses.

"We got outskated right into the ice," Gretzky said. "They didn't do anything fancy. They came in and skated hard and deserved to win."

The Rangers opened the season with a 1-0 loss at home to Philadelphia on Friday night, then were beaten 7-1 in Montreal on Saturday.

BRUINS 3, ISLANDERS 0: Byron Dafoe, who had a career-high six shutouts last season, stifled the Islanders with his first of the 1998-99 season.

Dmitri Khristich scored his first goal of the season at 14:00 of the opening period, and Steve Heinze made it 2-0 with his second at 15:18.

CANUCKS 4, KINGS 2: At Vancouver, Peter Zezel scored two goals, including the game-winner 10:48 into the third period, as the Canucks beat Los Angeles in their season opener. The Canucks were the last of the 27 teams in the NHL to start their season.

SABRES 3, AVALANCHE 0: Dominik Hasek stopped 32 shots for his 34th career shutout as Buffalo won at Colorado.

Jason Woolley and Michael Peca scored power-play goals to help the Sabres avoid losing consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 27-29.

Hasek, the winner of consecutive Hart and Vezina trophies as MVP and top goalie, made a diving save against Joe Sakic late in the game to preserve the shutout. Buffalo survived seven short-handed situations after allowing three power-play goals in its season-opening loss.