Backes Boosts the Blues Past Stars in Game 2
Battle, be resilient, and handle the adversity.
For the Blues, the goal heading into game number 2 of their Western Conference Semifinal against the Dallas Stars was to get back to their physical, chip-n-chase hockey style, one that wears down the opponent and takes advantage of cycles in the offensive zone. It was also their goal to slow down the Stars, slow the rush, and take away lanes.
The Stars would strike first to take an early 1-0 lead in game 2. What followed was a key moment in the game, and in the series, for the Blues to respond. The Blues would use some nifty passing, heavy fore checking and a power play to net 3 unanswered goals on 5 shots against the Stars’ Lehtonen, who was replaced by Niemi to begin the second 20 minutes.
The Blues, who have struggled in the second period so far in the playoffs, found a way to stop the Stars from getting in on the rush, and found a way to keep them off the scoreboard, keeping the lead at 3-1, and forcing the Stars to feel the pressure in the third period.
Hockey is a 60 minute game, and the Blues learned that on Sunday; After sitting back on their heels and playing not-to-lose hockey, the Blues watched their 2 goal lead evaporate. Dallas’ push back knotted the game at 3-3 and sent it into OT. The momentum was with the Stars.
The Blues know all too well the response necessary to battle and win in tight games, especially when things aren’t going their way. They’d need yet another response if they were going to win game 2 and take home ice back to St. Louis.
An interference penalty would put the Blues on a power play. The Blues played to their style, establishing offensive zone pressure after winning the faceoff. They moved the puck well, and after a blocked shot from Teresenko, he was able to corale the puck again and slide it up to the point, where it found Kevin Shattenkirk. Shatty slid a pass over to forward Alexander Steen, who ripped a one-timer from the point that reached Niemi, who was there for the initial stop. The rebound kicked hard off his pads, and landed on the stick of David Backes, who, on his 32nd birthday, buried the puck in the net to even the best-of-seven series at a game apiece.
Game 3 is Tuesday night in St. Louis at 8:30 CT.