ST. LOUIS - Barret Jackman has played in 644 NHL games and scored 23 goals. He was playing in his 23rd playoff game on Thursday night, looking for his first post-season goal.
So, who better to get the puck to with 50 seconds remaining in a 1-1 tie of Game 2
of the Western Conference quarter-finals? "Yeah, you know me," said Jackman, "I'm a scoring machine."
Against all odds, he was. Jackman got a pass from Chris Stewart and ripped a shot from right atop the Stanley Cup insignia on the ice, just inside the blue-line. It sailed over Los Angeles goalie Jonathan Quick's shoulder for a game-deciding goal
, and the Blues beat the Kings in dramatic style for the second game in succession.
Jackman picked a heckuva time for his first playoff goal.
"It's pretty big," Jackman said. "It's pretty emotional. I don't get the opportunity to score goals very often, so it's a big thrill."
The Blues head to Los Angeles up 2-0 in the series, which resumes on Saturday night (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 10 p.m. ET). The Blues have won both games in rather unorthodox fashion. In Game 1, Alexander Steen scored a short-handed goal to decide things in overtime. And in terms of unlikely developments, Jackman's goal is right there with it.
The 2-0 series lead is the first for the Blues since they led Dallas 2-0 in 2001. They wound up sweeping that series.
Kings not panicking
For their part, the Kings lost two games in a series with New Jersey last season. But by that time, LA had a 3-0 lead over the Devils. This is a bit different. Still, to a man, the Kings are not panicking.
"It's four games to win a series, so we've just got to focus on the next one," forward Dustin Penner said. "We're going home and we played well at home this year. We've got to take care of our home ice here, that's it."
The Kings led 1-0 early
on in the game, thanks to a 5-on-3 power-play goal midway through the first period. They led 23-15 in shots after two periods. But the Blues came on strong in the second half of the game.
"I think their forecheck was good, but I think we played a really good 40 minutes," Penner added. "We didn't have everyone taking the body. That's the key to our grind, being physical.
We let up in the third on our physicality and that's what happened.
Penner added: "The last-minute goal, I think this time of year it's not about bounces. It's about your mental toughness and your work. Like I said, we worked for 40 minutes and they found a way to win so now it's hit the reset button and get ready for Game 3."
Tough 2 games for Quick
It's been a tough two games for Quick, who has been both LA's best player and its tragic figure. If you were picking a player who might beat the netminder with an unobstructed shot, Jackman probably would have been last on the list.
"I've got to stop that," said Quick, who stopped 23 shots. "It's my fault, two games in a row. I've got to be better."
Quick appeared to hurt his back during the pre-game warmups. But when asked, he dismissed that notion.
"Nope, I felt good," he added.
The Kings now return home, where they had a 19-4-1 regular season mark, the best in the league.
"We've just got to win a game," said Quick, the Conn Smythe winner last year. "We're up 2-0, we're down 2-0, just go out and play to win the game, that's it. So we'll do that."
Brett Hull brings good luck to Blues
Shortly after the Scottrade Center operations people showed popular former Blue Brett Hull on the Jumbotron, Patrik Berglund scored a goal to tie the game. There was 16:16 remaining in the third period. Hull, of course, has his No. 16 hanging from the rafters in the building.
"Berglund had a great game," Hitchcock said. "He's been really good for us in these two games. He's playing with a lot of patience and that's exactly what we need him to do. His line [including T.J. Oshie and David Perron] really got it going for us tonight."
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