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Phoenix foiled

Blues beat Coyotes 2-1 in overtime, stave off elimination

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Posted: Tuesday May 04, 1999 01:03 PM

  Not so fast: Phoenix's Keith Tkachuk celebrates what he thinks is a goal, while St. Louis' Ricard Persson (right) and goalie Grant Fuhr insist he's mistaken. The goal was disallowed. AP

PHOENIX (AP) -- The albatross of playoff failure is still hanging around the Phoenix Coyotes' necks.

Scott Young ruined the Coyotes' chance to close out their series with the Blues when he beat valiant goalie Nikolai Khabibulin with a wrist shot 5:43 into overtime for a 2-1 St. Louis victory Friday night.

The win not only kept the Blues alive in their 20th consecutive postseason, it cast a pall over the Coyotes, who forged a 3-1 lead in their attempt to advance past the first round for the first time in eight tries since 1987.

Now, up 3-2, the Coyotes are faced with Game 6 Sunday in St. Louis and a resurgent team that outshot them 43-27 to win the second overtime game of the series. Phoenix won the first, and the momentum carried over with two more victories in St. Louis.

Khabibulin had 41 saves, but he couldn't handle the fourth of All-Star defenseman Al MacInnis' six shots, which tied the game on the power play with 8:10 remaining in regulation.

"He made some great plays throughout the game, and finally Al beat him," Young said of Khabibulin. "He seemed invincible for a while, but we finally cracked him."

St. Louis' speed won at the end as Young took a pass from Chris Pronger and broke away for a wrist shot from the circle.

"The defenseman was turned, and I could tell that he didn't see it. I busted down the wing and just tried to take a hard, high shot," said Young, who had 24 goals during the season but none in this series.

"It was just a perfect shot," Phoenix coach Jim Schoenfeld said. "Young is one of the few guys who could take a wrist shot like that."

Dallas Drake of Phoenix had only nine goals during the season, but has four in the playoffs. He scored on a power play with 3:35 left in the second period, but that was the only one of 27 Phoenix shots that got past Grant Fuhr.

Fuhr earned his 88th playoff victory to tie Billy Smith for second on the career list. Colorado's still-active Patrick Roy leads with 101 wins.

"Our backs are against the wall, and you have to be good every night, so right now it's going out and giving it everything you have," Fuhr said.

MacInnis scored his third goal in as many games in Phoenix. The last two came on power plays, and the first came one second after a power play ended.

Khabibulin made several spectacular stops while the Coyotes killed the first five St. Louis power plays, holding the Blues scoreless in 10 straight advantages since near the end of Game 3.

The Blues scored on their sixth, which was something the Coyotes couldn't match.

Phoenix had the only advantage of overtime after Ricard Persson grabbed Drake by the chin and threw him 2:50 into the extra period. But the Coyotes got off just one shot against the proficient St. Louis penalty-killers.

"We had guys in the spots you want, and we just didn't connect," said Rick Tocchet. "It just happens. It's like a footrace -- the first shot on net wins."

Phoenix appeared to have a goal 6:22 into the game, when Keith Tkachuk found the back of the net as Michal Handzus knocked him headlong into Fuhr. But the goal was disallowed because the puck went off Tkachuk's right hand.

The Coyotes twice came within an inch of possible victory in regulation -- when Teppo Numminen hit the post in the second period, and when Tkachuk got a short-handed breakaway on Fuhr in the third. Fuhr lost the shot, but Jamie Rivers dived into the crease to knock it away.

"They were up 1-0 and Tkachuk was on a breakaway, and Fuhr makes a big stop," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "That is obviously the turning point of the game, and then MacInnis scores."

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