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Stars pick up valuable points vs. first-place Blues

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Colton Sceviour knows the Dallas Stars need to win hockey games, but the center does not believe they reached the desperation point in their battle for a playoff spot.

"Desperation sounds kind of bad, but we feel like these are games we need to win," Sceviour said. "We still feel like we hold our fate in our own hands because we have a couple of games in hand, but those games mean nothing unless we win them."

Being in the right place at the right time helped Sceviour score two goals Saturday night to lead the Stars to a 4-2 win over the first-place St. Louis Blues, an important victory as they chase a playoff spot.

The win allowed the Stars to move within one point of the Phoenix Coyotes in the race for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, and a potential first-round date with the Blues. Minnesota beat Phoenix 3-1 Saturday night.

"We're not in a must-win situation quite yet but when the teams ahead of us are winning games we need to keep pace when we play," Sceviour said. "It's huge to come in here and get a victory."

The Stars struggled of late on the road, losing four in a row and being outscored 20-7 in those games, but they jumped on the Blues -- who lost only five of 35 home games in regulation this year -- for a 2-0 lead on Sceviour's goals in the first two periods. It was the first time the Blues trailed by two goals at home since Jan. 18, a span of 11 games.

A turnover by St. Louis right winger Steve Ott led to Sceviour's first goal just 3:53 into the game. Ott appeared to have atoned for that mistake with a game-tying goal 6:50 into the second period on a deflection, but the play was blown dead before the puck trickled into the net.

Just 31 seconds later, St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller stopped a shot by center Shawn Horcoff, but the rebound hit Sceviour's skate and deflected into the net for the two-goal Dallas lead.

"They weren't the prettiest of goals, but we'll take them," Sceviour said.

Coach Lindy Ruff thought the game was a good test for the Stars and he was pleased with how his team responded.

"We needed to get a win under our belt and it was a big two points for us," Ruff said. "The emotion in the game just like a playoff game. It was an intense game, a good game for us to be in. We've got to answer some questions, whether we're good enough. You play a game like that against a really good team that has played well in this building -- I thought we were able to hold it together."

The Blues cut the lead to 2-1 on a power-play goal by left winger Alexander Steen, his 32nd of the year, at 14:16 of the second period, but Dallas responded just 25 seconds later on a deflection by center Cody Eakin off a shot by defenseman Jordie Benn which restored the two-goal lead.

Steen again pulled the Blues within one goal with his second power-play goal of the game 49 seconds into the third period.

Another St. Louis mistake, however, this time by defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, gave Dallas left winger Antoine Roussel a breakaway and he shot the puck past Miller for the 4-2 lead at 7:56 of the period.

"We were sloppy," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. "The (David) Backes line isn't going to be perfect every night. We need other people to step up and grab the rope, and we didn't get it."

Miller blamed himself for the loss.

"I've got to manage the puck better," Miller said. "The third goal was a bad play on my part. It's pretty disappointing. We wanted to build a little bit on our last game and we weren't able to do that."

The loss snapped the Blues' three-game winning streak and left them one point behind Boston in the battle for the best record in the NHL after the Bruins' victory over Washington on Saturday. The Blues were trying for their 51st win of the season, which would have matched their franchise record set in 1999-2000, the only time in their history they won the President's Trophy.

NOTES: The Blues inserted LW Chris Porter and D Ian Cole into their lineup in place of LW Magnus Paarjarvi and D Carlo Colaiacovo. Cole had been a healthy scratch for the previous four games. ... Dallas recalled C Chris Mueller from the Texas Stars of the AHL before the game to have an extra forward in case either C Tyler Seguin (soreness) or LW Ray Whitney (sickness) were not able to play, but both were in the Stars' lineup. ... St. Louis LW Alexander Steen played in the 600th game of his NHL career. ... The game was the start of a five-game trip for the Stars, who will play at Washington on Tuesday night. The Blues' next game also is on Tuesday night, at home against Philadelphia.
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