David Backes scored on the St. Louis Blues’ second power play attempt in overtime to give them the 4-3 win and even the series at one game a piece with the Dallas Stars.
Stars’ forward Antoine Roussel interfered with Blues’ forward Vladimir Taraksenko and went to the penalty box for the third time in the game. The Blues power play then went to work. Alex Steen got the puck over to Kevin Shattenkirk, who took the point shot and Antti Niemi made the save. The rebound went right to Backes, who put the puck into the empty net while Niemi was still down from the original save. The goal was Backes’ second overtime winner this postseason and came at 10:58 of the extra session.
Jamie Benn tied the game at three with 2:36 left in regulation to force the extra session. Cody Eakin won an offensive zone face-off back to defenseman Kris Russell, who flung the puck to the net, where it hit Eakin. It went off Eakin and right to Benn, who made no mistake and put the puck into the net. Mattias Janmark pulled the Stars within one goal at 3-2 when he took a nice pass from Eakin in the neutral zone, and then he used his speed to get by the Blues’ defense, and then he beat Brian Elliott five-hole.
The Blues came out much more physical to start the game than they were in game one of the series. Ken Hitchcock inserted tough guy, Ryan Reaves in to the lineup and Reaves had a few big hits early to set the tone of the game for the Blues.
It was the Stars who took the early lead on Alex Goligoski’s third of the postseason. Eakin got the puck to Jamie Benn, behind the Blues’ net, and he found a wide open Goligoski, who fired the puck past Elliott for the 1-0 Stars lead. It didn’t take St. Louis long to tie the game at one. The Blues got the puck in its own zone, Backes got the puck to Patrik Berglund, who passed it to Robby Fabbri. Fabbri then got the puck back to Berglund, who ripped one past Kari Lehtonen.
The Blues would add two more goals from Joel Edmundson, his first of the 2016 NHL Playoffs, and Troy Brouwer on the power play. Lehtonen allowed three goals on the first five shots that he faced. The goals weren’t really his fault and he could do nothing to make the saves. The team in front of him wasn’t doing a great job of defending.
Antti Niemi came out to start the second period for Dallas in goal. Lindy Ruff hasn’t been afraid to switch his goalies mid-game nor has he been afraid to make a goalie switch midseries. After winning the first two games of the Minnesota Wild series with Lehtonen in net, he went to Niemi for the next two and then back to Lehtonen for the last two. Niemi made 19/20 saves after coming into the game in relief of Lehtonen and he made some really nice saves to keep the Stars in the game.
There were various players who had multipoint games. Jamie Benn had a goal and an assist while Eakin assisted on all three Stars goals. Brouwer and Backes each had a goal and an assist for the Blues. Shattenkirk and Fabbri each had two assists for St. Louis.
The series is heading to St. Louis for Games 3 and 4. The puck will drop for Game 3 at 9:30 on Tuesday night and it can been seen on NBCSN. Game 4 will on NBCSN on Thursday, May 5 with an 8:00p.m. puck drop.