ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Offense from untapped sources gave the Chicago
Blackhawks a good start to the playoffs.
Alexander Karpovtsev, who had one goal in the regular season,
scored with 3:10 to go for a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues
in the opening game of their first round Western Conference playoff
series Thursday night. Kyle Calder, who didn't score in the last 23
regular-season games, also scored for Chicago.
"You take all the 50-goal scorers and all the trophies and
everything else out," coach Brian Sutter said. "It doesn't
matter. We all start out even."
Karpovtsev, a defenseman, had scored his lone regular-season
goal on Oct. 11 against the Coyotes, and missed the last seven
games after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery April 3. He scored
his fourth career playoff goal off a cross-ice feed from Michael
Nylander and had plenty of room to skate to the top of the left
circle before firing a high wrist shot past Brent Johnson.
Teammate Tom Fitzgerald may have distracted Johnson by waving
his stick at the puck in front of the net.
"I saw the goalie was too deep in the net and he wasn't ready
for the shot," Karpovtsev said. "He tried to make himself bigger
in the net and I shot between his arm and his body through the big
hole. So I'm lucky."
Johnson blamed himself.
"I think I could done two things to prevent both goals,"
Johnson said. "I could have prevented it by just going down to the
Nylander nearly set up the Blackhawks for the go-ahead goal with
about 6:30 to go, feeding Eric Daze for a one-timer from
point-blank range. But Johnson slid across the crease to make the
save in a play that was reviewed at the next stoppage.
Game 2 is Saturday in St. Louis.
The Blackhawks, in the playoffs for the first time in five
years, were 3-1-1 against the Blues in the regular season and won
Game 1 despite being outshot 35-21.
Pavol Demitra scored in the second period for the Blues, who
overtook the Blackhawks for fourth place in the Western Conference
and earned home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs
with an 8-2 finish.
"We didn't have the same jump in our game that we saw the last
10 games," coach Joel Quenneville said. "I don't know if we were
fatigued or what, but we didn't have that same puck presence."
The Blackhawks struggled to the finish line, going 2-4-1.
"As many shots as you can get, it's awesome, especially on a
night where you feel the puck pretty good and you feel confident,"
Thibault said. "I thought we did a very good job of letting me see
the puck from the blue line."
The Blues opened the second period with a six-shot flurry, and
took the lead when Demitra redirected a slap shot from the point by
Chris Pronger on a power play at 1:34. It was the third shot during
the man advantage for St. Louis after the Blackhawks were whistled
for too many men on the ice.
Calder tied it on the game's next shot at 2:42, only Chicago's
sixth of the game, putting a backhander into an empty net after
Johnson went down early on a wrist shot from the point by Jon
"It's been a while since I scored, but I never let it bother
me," Calder said. "I'm going to work hard every night."
Calder, who had a career-best 17 goals during the regular
season, got his first since Feb. 9. ... Blues rookie D Mike Van Ryn
was a healthy scratch for the first time since Dec. 18, a
reflection of Quenneville's reliance on veterans for the playoffs.
Van Ryn missed the season finale with a minor injury. ... The
Blackhawks scratched LW Bob Probert, who led the team with 176
penalty minutes, for the 11th time in 12 games. ... National Anthem
singer Charles Glenn had a false start because his microphone was