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Late goal gives Blues 2-0 series lead

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Barret Jackman and the rest of the St. Louis Blues saw a goal in the final minute almost cost them a victory in the first game of their playoff series against Los Angeles.

Jackman didn't see the goal in the final minute of Thursday night's game -- all he heard was the crowd at Scottrade Center going wild.

"I had my eyes closed," Jackman said. "The building erupted and it's a pretty good feeling. We closed it off tonight, not giving up a goal late."

On Tuesday, a shot by Justin Williams deflected off Jackman's stick into the St. Louis net with 31 seconds left and sent the game into overtime, where the Blues emerged with the victory.

Game 2 appeared as if it were going to overtime as well, but Jackman scored his first career playoff goal with 50.4 seconds left to break a 1-1 tie and give the Blues a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 lead as the series moves to Los Angeles for the next two games.

Jackman, who scored three goals in the regular season, skated in on the left wing, took a pass from Chris Stewart and fired a shot past goalie Jonathan Quick.

"He probably didn't think I was going to shoot the way my hands are," Jackman said. "I just tried to put it on net."

Quick admitted he should have made the play.

"I've got to stop that," he said. "It's my fault two games in a row. I've got to be better."

Quick mishandled the puck behind the net in overtime in Game 1, letting the Blues win the game on Alexander Steen's shorthanded goal.

Los Angeles defenseman Drew Doughty said the Kings could not stop the play.

"It was a three-on-two and it went across ice and it was the right place to get that shot off," he said. "He just made a good shot. There was nothing we could do."

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock cautioned that despite the 2-0 advantage the series is far from over.

"I don't think there's one person in the room who thinks we are in control of anything," Hitchcock said. "This is two teams that are going to fight to the end. Every player in that locker room knows that."

Doughty said the defending Stanley Cup champions know what they have to do as well.

"It's our own fault that we're in this position," he said. "We've been fully prepared for their game, fully prepared for what they're going to do against us, and we just haven't stepped up to the plate. Tonight was a better effort, but we were only good for two periods. And in order to win a game, especially going out with the lead, we've got to shut that down in the third period and make sure they don't come back."

The Blues got in trouble early, being called for four minor penalties in the first 9:49, the last an interference penalty on Jackman that appeared to come after the play had been whistled dead.

That penalty followed a high-sticking call on Ryan Reaves and gave the Kings a 5-on-3 advantage, and it took them just six seconds to score the game's first goal. Dustin Brown deflected a shot from Mike Richards past goalie Brian Elliott to give Los Angeles its first lead in the series.

The Blues, who won only five of 19 games during the season when they trailed after two periods, finally were able to tie the game 3:44 into the third period when Patrik Berglund scored his fourth career playoff goal off a rebound of a long shot by Alex Pietrangelo. The puck hit Quick, then bounced off Berglund's foot, off the post and into the net. The goal was reviewed before it was allowed.

The Blues had a scary moment midway through the period when Brown was knocked into Elliott, who hit the goal post and went down. He lay on the ice for more than two minutes before he was able to get up. He remained in the game and stopped the final four shots on goal by Los Angeles.

The last time the Blues led a playoff series 2-0 was in 2001 against Dallas, the year before Jackman played his first game for the Blues.

"It's a good feeling," he said. "In L.A., we know how tough it is there. We have to go and play even better than we did tonight. They will be coming out a desperate hockey team. We know they are going to come hard and we have to bring our A game."

NOTES: The Blues used the same lineup they featured in Game 1, while the Kings made one change, inserting C Colin Fraser and scratching Brad Richardson. ... Los Angeles D Robyn Regehr was playing despite having his nose broken during Tuesday night's game when he was hit by the heel of David Backes' skate. ... At the morning skate Thursday, St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock was asked about the difference between him and Los Angeles coach Darryl Sutter. "In the summer, he talks to cows and I talk to golfers," Hitchcock said. ... En route to winning the Stanley Cup last year, the Kings never trailed in any of the four rounds, taking a 3-0 lead in each series.
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