Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blues blow another third period lead, down Red Wings in shootout

Boyes nets winner; Kariya scores at home for first time
in over a year as St. Louis wins after losing 3-1 lead

ST. LOUIS -- With each passing game and their playoff lives hanging in the balance, the Blues were in all likelihood down to their final life -- if they were given nine lives.

And after blowing another third-period lead in which the Blues frittered away a point to the opposition, the hush in the 19,150 at Scottrade Center must have been saying, 'Here we go again!'

But the Blues, fresh off a disheartening 5-2 loss at Colorado Monday, touched down at 2:45 a.m. Tuesday morning and it was easy to question where would they be able to come up with the legs with the talented Detroit Red Wings waiting for them.

Not only did the Blues find a gear or two, they really turned it up in overtime after squandering a two-goal lead and grabbed the extra point in the shootout.

Brad Boyes' goal in the third round against Jimmy Howard, which was followed up by a Chris Mason save on all-world Henrik Zetterberg preserved a 4-3 Blues victory over the Red Wings, with the Blues taking the shootout 2-1.

The Blues (26-25-9) are in full playoff mode, and a loss here with two days off while teams ahead of them jockey for points would have been crippling. But somehow, they seem to draw themselves and their loyal fans back in and now sit six points back of seven-place Nashville and eighth-place Calgary for a postseason berth.

Paul Kariya, who hasn't lit the lamp in a meaningful game here since Oct. 25, 2008, scored twice -- he initially was credited with one goal but was awarded the first Blues goal by off-ice officials that was originally awarded to David Perron -- and Andy McDonald tallied a third-period power play goal. Boyes and T.J. Oshie scored shootout goals and Chris Mason, who was pulled from Monday's loss to the Avalanche after allowing five goals on 15 shots, stopped 39 shots to gain a win.

"I was very pleased," Blues coach Davis Payne said. "I was displeased with (Monday) night's performance, and you have to right your wrongs. Even with travel, we knew we had to get ourselves back on track and I thought we did that tonight. We had pretty good engagement from all our lines on the ice tonight."

The Blues, who trailed 1-0 after one on a Kris Draper goal that went on off Erik Johnson's skate, got a Kariya goal off a deflection following a shot from Perron, who skated into the high slot after serving an interference penalty and fired a puck that Wings goalie Jimmy Howard 12 minutes, 20 seconds into the second period.

It would take the Blues' winger roughly six minutes later (18:10) to get his second of the night, knocking in David Backes' centering feed to give the Blues a 2-1 lead.

"It was good to get the win, first, but it was nice to get that monkey off my back at home," Kariya said. "I don't know what happened there, but it's behind us. Hopefully, they start flooding in now.

"It feels good to contribute. I don't really think about where I'm playing. It's a game. We've struggled at home. Obviously, I've struggled at home. We have to get that record up at home and it helps scoring goals like that."

The Blues got a big goal from McDonald, his 18th, in the third 6:57 into the period when he redirected Johnson's centering feed from the right circle to make it 3-1.

The Blues, who fired 45 shots at Howard, carried play much of the night -- including 20 shots in the first period -- and were poised to get the necessary push at the end.

But Detroit (27-21-11) would get goals from Pavel Datsyuk with 5:34 remaining to make it 3-2 and then another from Valtteri Filppula with 2:20 to play to tie the game.

It's been a familiar scene at home for the Blues, who improved to 9-16-5 at Scottrade Center.
However, the players did not have that eerie feeling.

"I don't think that was the thought," Boyes said. "At times it's been like that this year, but tonight, I don't think it was like that. It was weird, that third period. Obviously, we gave up the two goals, but in saying that, we still found a way to win, which is huge for us. We need the points right now."

"The last couple goals, we had opportunities to make different plays," Payne said. "We obviously have to get better in that area to force some situations out. But we had a pretty consistent effort coming off of five games in seven nights and putting up 45 shots."

The Blues didn't flinch in overtime, as Johnson's rocket off the cross bar with 2:10 to play nearly won it, and Eric Brewer was robbed by Howard on a redirection with 1:39 left off a feed from Alex Steen.

"I think it was just a collective determination that we came to play, we came to play 60-plus minutes and if it took 65, we were going to do that," Payne said. "I thought we had the majority of the scoring chances in overtime and could have ended it early."

But it took three rounds of a shootout, and after Howard stopped McDonald, Datsyuk mishandled his attempt.

Oshie beat Howard with a shot five-hole, but Detroit came back with Jason Williams, who beat Mason with a backhand and it came down to the final attempt.

Boyes, who went against Howard earlier in the season and was stopped, used a different move, going to his backhand before pulling the puck back to his forehand and beating Howard.

"I was looking to do what I did," said Boyes, now 18 for 41 in his career in shootouts. "I shot on him earlier this year, and I tried to go high glove. ... I just tried to change it up. I tried to fake glove, but I didn't think that would work real well, so I kind of tried to draw him to the backhand (and go forehand) a little more. I've used it a couple times."

Detroit needed Zetterberg, who came in 11 for 26 in his career, but Mason was up to the challenge and kicked out his right pad to end it.

"I haven't seen that shot from (Zetterberg) too much," Mason admitted. "He usually dekes, but he decided to shoot. Fortunately for me, I got the pad on it.

"I sometimes watch those guys (in the shootout), but they change it up so often. Guys with top-end skill have about three or four different moves. There's always some sort of deception."

The Blues, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 4-7-2 in the second of back-to-back games, were pleased that there was no letdown after the loss in Denver 24 hours earlier.

They felt like it was time to step up and give themselves an opportunity, which is what they did in improving to 4-0-1 against the Wings this season.

"I thought we had great energy," Kariya said. "Maybe we need to get less sleep the night before games, but we certainly had good energy and carried it in. They certainly got some lucky goals and lucky bounces. It was a disappointing they got a point out of there, but we'll take the two points obviously.

"We just wanted to stick with our game. If it takes 65 minutes and the shootout to get the two points, it takes that. Boysie and Osh had two terrific goals in the shootout and got us the two points."

* NOTES -- The Blues' healthy scratches were defenseman Darryl Sydor and enforcers Cam Janssen and D.J. King. ... Detroit forward Johan Franzen (knee) returned to the lineup after missing the previous 55 games. He last played on Oct. 8.

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