DALLAS (AP) -- That extra point could go a long way for St. Louis
in a tight playoff chase. It has already provided a big boost.
Pavol Demitra scored 2:29 into overtime to give St. Louis a 2-1
win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night. The victory pushed
the Blues from the eighth place -- which goes to the final playoff
team -- to sixth in the Western Conference standings.
"We responded with a good effort and a win which should help
spearhead our playoff drive," said Blues coach Joel Quenneville.
"After the game, the locker room was as high as it was all year.
We've positioned ourselves for the next six games in a good way."
The Blues already had earned a point by getting to overtime, but
the extra point for winning pushed them past Edmonton and Los
Angeles into sixth place in the Western Conference. St. Louis has
88 points, one more than the Kings and Oilers.
Like St. Louis, Dallas is in the unusual position of having to
fight for a playoff spot this late in the season. The Stars also
have six games left in the next 11 days.
With its point, Dallas moved into a tie with Vancouver for ninth
place with 84 points. But the Stars would lose a tiebreaker with
the Canucks and are still three points behind the Oilers and Kings,
a team they play Monday.
"The numbers start to be critical. It's good we got a point,
but we needed two," said Stars interim coach Rick Wilson. "On the
inside, we don't believe we're out of it."
Dallas began overtime with a man advantage following a scuffle
at the end of regulation, but the Stars didn't get off a shot.
"Keith went hard to the net and really cleared everything out,
and it really opened up for me," Demitra said. "I don't know what
I was thinking coming down, but when it opened up, I just shot
Demitra worked from the right side across the front of the net
and slapped the puck past Ed Belfour, who stopped 30 shots before
that in his return after missing two games because of a sore back.
The Stars were 0-for-6 on power-play attempts, helping St. Louis
to overcome 10 penalties.
"Our penalty killing was the difference in the game, but we
have to be more disciplined," Tkachuk said. "We can't be giving a
quality team like Dallas that many chances"
The other goal allowed by Belfour was Mike Eastwood's rebound
shot that tied the game 1-1 in the second period. Marc Bergevin's
hard shot bounded off Belfour's pads right to the charging Eastwood
for an easy score.
Just five minutes earlier, the Stars had taken a 1-0 lead on
Randy McKay's first goal since being traded to Dallas from New
Jersey at the NHL's trading deadline March 19. From a crowd in
front of the net, McKay pushed the puck between goalie Brent
Johnson, pulled from Monday's 5-3 loss at Phoenix after giving
up four goals on 15 shots, had 23 stops against the Stars.
Dallas made it easy for Johnson early, getting outshot 9-1 in
the first period. That lone Stars shot was Brenden Morrow's blast
that hit the right goalpost.
Stars RW Jere Lehtinen was scratched for the eighth
straight game with a sprained right ankle. RW Pat Verbeek was out
with a groin injury. ... McKay became the 27th forward to score for
the Stars this season. That's the most in the NHL. ... Demitra has
five goals and eight assists the last 14 games. ... The one shot in
the first period by Dallas was a season low.