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St. Louis Goalie Feels Fortunate

Considering what St. Louis Blues goalie Jamie McLennan has gone through, facing 5-on-3s isn’t any big deal.

McLennan is one of the hottest goaltenders in the NHL these days, stepping in for the injured Grant Fuhr during the team’s five-game winning streak.

McLennan got his first career shutout on Thursday against Montreal and held Dallas to one goal on Saturday. He has allowed just eight goals during the streak.

Two years ago, he had more urgent concerns - saving his life. He had contracted bacterial meningitis, an often fatal illness.

“I guess you feel fortunate to still be here,” McLennan said. “With some things bad, I guess some good things come out of it. It’s helped my outlook on life in general and I’m enjoying it, I’m enjoying every minute of every day.”

McLennan, 26, was stricken five days after the end of the 1995-96 season. At first he thought it was food poisoning, but the situation became so serious doctors told him to summon his parents because he might not make it.

He spent five days in intensive care and two more weeks in the hospital, losing 30 pounds off his 190-pound frame. When he was released he had to learn to walk again. He spent all of last season in the minor leagues building his strength.

So no, McLennan isn’t overly impressed by the sight of Mike Modano steaming in alone on goal.

“If you sat back and looked at the game of hockey compared to young kids battling cancer in hospitals, everything is relative,” McLennan said. “It’s something I’ve put behind me, but I never forget.”

Around the league

Philadelphia Flyers center Eric Lindros could be out 10 days to two weeks with a concussion… . The slumping Washington Capitals, seeking veteran leadership in the season’s homestretch, acquired left wing Esa Tikkanen from the Florida Panthers in exchange for a minor league player and a conditional draft pick.

On the ice

Keith Primeau and Martin Gelinas scored 37 seconds apart on Carolina’s first two shots of the game as the Carolina Hurricanes beat the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 3-1 Sunday in Anaheim, Calif.