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Hockey

Playoff power

Coyotes beat Blues 2-1, take command 3-1 in series

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Posted: Tuesday May 04, 1999 01:04 PM

  Cold shoulder: St. Louis' Mike Eastwood separates Shane Doan from the puck, but Phoenix held on for a 3-1 series lead. AP

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Another memorable postseason moment from Dallas Drake helped the Phoenix Coyotes climb closer to their first playoff series victory in 12 years.

The Coyotes' principal pest snapped a second-period tie with a deflection on a power play, giving his team a 2-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues and a commanding lead in their first-round series Tuesday night.

He didn't seem to mind that teammate Teppo Numminen had been given credit for the goal until after the game and officials had a chance to review the play closer.

"I did get a piece of it, yeah," Drake said. "That's all right. Who cares who gets it? This is as big as it gets."

Phoenix leads the series 3-1 and can close it out at home Friday night. The Coyotes haven't won a playoff series since they were the Winnipeg Jets in 1987 and beat Calgary 4-2.

"We haven't done anything yet," Drake said. "We've proven we can beat them, obviously, but there's a long ways to go."

Greg Adams also scored and Nikolai Khabibulin made 27 saves for the Coyotes, who have won three straight -- each by one goal -- since losing the opener at home.

The Blues' Pascal Rheaume got his first goal of the playoffs and Grant Fuhr rebounded nicely from his Game 3 disaster, when he allowed four goals on 10 shots in a 5-4 loss. Fuhr didn't allow a goal until the Coyotes' 12th shot and he made 18 saves.

But the Coyotes put the clamps on high-scoring defenseman Al MacInnis, who entered the game with an NHL-leading eight points in the playoffs. MacInnis got little room to maneuver and Coyotes captain Keith Tkachuk blocked two of his shots.

"He's got a hard shot and it doesn't feel great all the time, but you've got to do it," Tkachuk said. "He's the key to that team on the power play, so whenever he shoots you've got to try to get in his way."

Teammates marveled at Tkachuk's bravery.

"Keith went down in front of him about 10 times just to stop him from shooting or force him to shoot wide," Drake said. "If you want to go down in front of that shot you've got to be a little weird upstairs, because he's got a cannon."

Just as in the regular season, home ice was no advantage for the Blues. St. Louis closed the season on a 14-4-1 road run, but was only 18-17-6 at the Kiel Center. That road finish and the closeness of the games are giving the Blues hope.

"I don't think we have to make too many more changes," coach Joel Quenneville said. "The games are that fine, and it's not a hopeless situation."

Geoff Courtnall was in the penalty box for roughing when Drake scored his third goal, and sixth point, of the playoffs when he deflected Teppo Numminen's shot from the point with 34.8 seconds to go in the second. Phoenix had been 2-for-26 on the power play in the series before then.

Drake leads the Coyotes in scoring in the playoffs after getting only nine goals in the regular season.

Fuhr got a huge ovation when he was introduced as the starter and an even bigger one when he made a diving save to thwart Mike Stapleton on a shorthanded breakaway at 3:25 of the second. He also made a nice spread-eagle save to stop Adams on a 2-on-1 break at about the five-minute mark of the second.

Khabibulin was at his best in the two minutes after Rheaume scored, stopping a couple of chances from close in. Jyrki Lumme saved a goal in the first period when he got a piece of the puck on what appeared to be an easy tap-in for Turgeon. He stuffed two more Turgeon efforts in the final minute

"Our goalie is the best, he's the man," Tkachuk said. "He's unknown around the league and that's great. He's going to make the big saves for us."

Turgeon, who had been a team-worst minus-5 for the series, set up the game's first goal while flat on his back. Getting dragged down by Lumme near the net didn't stop Turgeon from making a backhand centering pass to Rheaume -- St. Louis' lone lineup change -- for a tap-in at 5:58 of the second period.

St. Louis missed a chance to clear the puck, enabling Adams to tie it at the 11-minute mark off a setup from Robert Reichel. Rick Tocchet hopped out of the crease just in time.

"[Chris] Pronger kind of helped me because he kind of cross-checked me and it gave me momentum to get out," Tocchet said. "That was close, real close."

 
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Teppo Numminen and the Phoenix Coyotes have St. Louis singing the Blues after a 2-1 win.
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