Final OT

Series (Game 4 of 4)

St. Louis leads 2-1

Game 1: Wednesday, October 17th
Game 2: Saturday, January 5th
Game 3: Wednesday, March 20th
Game 4: Wednesday, April 3rd

Blues 2

(38-26-4, 88 pts)

Stars 1

(34-26-5, 84 pts)

8:00 PM ET, April 3, 2002

American Airlines Center, Dallas, Texas

1 2 3 OT T
STL 0 1 0 12
DAL 0 1 0 01

P. Demitra (Blues - RW): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

E. Belfour (Stars - G): Saves: 30, Save Pct.: .938

C. Pronger (Blues - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 0

Blues' overtime win boosts them to sixth

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.

Ed Belfour

Ed Belfour, right, made 30 saves but couldn't stop Pavol Demitra in overtime.

"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.

Right after Dallas Drake's roughing penalty ended and the teams were back at even strength, Demitra scored his 31st goal and 10th game-winner after taking a pass from Keith Tkachuk.

"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 it."

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's legs.

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.

Game notes

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.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press