Thursday, January 15, 2015

Blues rally from 2-0 deficit, fall to Red Wings in overtime

Backes, Steen third-period goals rally team; 
Datsyuk nets winner with 2.2 seconds left

ST. LOUIS -- It was an icing that had the Blues' bench unnerved. Late in overtime, there was a sense that the Blues had to buckle down and get a clear.

The Blues got a clear, but as coach Ken Hitchcock said afterwards, the Blues were disorganized and in the end, the Detroit Red Wings were celebrating a victory thanks to a familiar Blues nemesis.

Pavel Datsyuk got help from the bench. From there, it was all up to the Red Wings center
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Alex Pietrangelo (left) and Vladimir Tarasenko celebrate the Blues' tying
goal in the third period scored by Alexander Steen on Thursday night.

Datsyuk's goal with 2.2 seconds remaining in overtime gave the Red Wings a 3-2 victory against the Blues on Thursday at Scottrade Center. 

Datsyuk's wrist shot from the slot beat Blues goalie Brian Elliott over the right shoulder. Datsyuk's 15th goal gives him 75 points (25 goals) in 65 NHL games against St. Louis.

"I heard the bench say five seconds," Datsyuk said. "I just shot as quick as possible."

The officials initially gathered because they didn't see the puck go in, but after review, it was clear the puck was in the net.

Elliott, who made 21 saves, was reacting to Datsyuk's shot.

"I didn't see it," Elliott said. "I just knew the only (real) spot he had to shoot, so I tried to get my body in front of it. It just snuck through there.

"Our 'D' was trying to take the pass across. I have to watch the video again to see. It happened so fast out there." 

The icing that hurt the Blues came off the stick of Kevin Shattenkirk with 35.1 seconds left in overtime. The faceoff came back into the Blues' zone, and after they got a clear, it was chaos. The Blues were scrambling and Datsyuk was able to beat Elliott.

"Yep ... well tough icing because it was the same line we had to rest before," Hitchcock said. "Same guys we had to rest before (in the third period when the Blues had to) take time out. We didn't have our time out." 

The officials initially didn't rule it a goal on the ice, and after discussion, they called it a goal. Then it went to Toronto, where video review confirmed the Wings' victory.

The goal stood, and the Red Wings (24-11-9) have won six of nine games during a stretch of games where they played eight of nine on the road.

Joakim Andersson and Tomas Tatar each scored a goal one minute apart in the second period to give Detroit a 2-0 lead.

The Red Wings finished their road trip 4-2-0 by ending the Blues' five-game winning streak.

"Two seconds left, you try not to give up anything and let them get a pretty clean shot away. That's tough," said Blues captain David Backes, who scored a goal to get the Blues back within one at 2-1.

"An icing with 30 seconds or 20 seconds left in overtime ... you try and gut those out."

Petr Mrazek made 25 saves for the Red Wings. He came into the game Thursday with a 2-0-0 record, 0.80 goals-against average and .969 save percentage in three games against the Blues.

The Red Wings had three shots on goal through the game's first 30 minutes. 

It was the seventh loss on home ice for the Blues (27-13-4), who had outscored their opponents 28-10 during their winning streak.

Backes and Alexander Steen each scored a third-period goal to help the Blues rally from a 2-0 deficit and send the game to overtime.

"We showed a lot of character in coming back, getting a 6-on-5 goal which has eluded us for that first part of the year," Backes said. "We need to close that out after a lot of good efforts to come back." 

Backes tipped a Jay Bouwmeester wrist shot from the point past Mrazek 3:58 into the third period with St. Louis on the power play. Backes' 16th goal -- ninth on the power play -- ended a 128:13 goal drought for the Blues against the Red Wings at Scottrade Center. 

Steen's 14th goal, which extended his point streak to eight games (six goals, eight assists), came off a redirection of Alex Pietrangelo's centering pass with 47.6 seconds remaining in regulation.

"I'm pretty impressed with the way we fought back there in the third period," Pietrangelo said. "We knew we had to play better than we did in the second. 

"Tough way to lose there with two seconds left, but a point's better than nothing."

Hitchcock said the tying goal coming after Backes scored.

"I wasn't sure when it was 2-0. When it was 2-1, I knew we were going to tie it up," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "I really felt that. If we kept it 5-on-5, we were going to be OK. Obviously, we did.

"I think that's the best somebody's played against us in this building for a long time. ... I'm disappointed in some aspect but I think there's some real good lessons here. This was like a playoff game."

Andersson's first goal of the season came with 1:56 left in the second off Drew Miller's sharp-angled shot. Elliott left the near post exposed, and Andersson was able to poke the rebound past him for a 1-0 Detroit lead. 

Tatar's 18th goal came off a rebound of Jonathan Ericsson's shot from the left point. Tatar was able to collect the rebound with Bouwmeester nearby and lift a backhand over Elliott with 55.6 seconds left in the second. 

"I felt like Detroit was a step quicker than us tonight for the most part," Steen said. "It cost us the game.

"The fact that Detroit was a little quicker than us on their reads and their legs ... I think they spent too much time in our zone compared to us in theirs." 

Before the Detroit goals, St. Louis had multiple chances to break the scoreless tie in the second period. 

Backes' wrist shot from the high slot was gloved by Mrazek with 11:19 remaining in the period, and then with Detroit on the power play, right wing T.J. Oshie could not convert a 2-on-1 shorthanded attempt with center Paul Stastny. Mrazek made a shoulder save on Oshie's initial wrist shot, and then the Blues right wing missed the net on the backhand rebound.

Mrazek also made a key right pad save on Stastny, who took a pass from Jaden Schwartz in the high slot and appeared to have the Red Wings' goalie beaten 43 seconds into overtime.

"I thought the scoring chances, if you look at the game, were even," Hitchcock said. "I thought they made it really hard on us to try and create scoring chances. They really checked us hard in the d-zone. We got no easy ice today. It was a real challenge mentally and physically. I think everything was confronted. I don't think there's too much difference between the teams to be honest with you.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
The Blues' David Backes (42) redirects a shot past Red Wings goalie Petr
Mtrazek in the third period Thursday night at Scottrade Center. 

"There was a feeling out process early and then it really got going when they scored their second goal. They got momentum off of that. We barged back in the third period. I thought it was a playoff game. I thought there was a cautious approach, very positionally strong approach. If you look at it honestly from our players' standpoint, there's some really good lessons today, good and bad. As I said to the players, there is no easy ice. They're consistent, they work, they compete on every puck. If you didn't keep your competitive level really high, even during the shift, I think you really got exposed. When we started to really compete at a high level, shift in and shift out, I thought we did some really good things. But they're a team that they're going to push you from the start, not going to go away and they're going to stay on you till the end. They're a good team, one of the best teams we played all year."

The Red Wings had an apparent Gustav Nyquist goal waved off with 7:02 remaining in regulation when Justin Abdelkader was called for goaltender interference in the crease.

The Blues caught the Chicago Blackhawks (58 points) for second place in the Central Division, but the Blackhawks have a game in hand. 

"We battled back, two big goals in the third to get a point out of it," Elliott said. "I'm proud of the guys for doing that."

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