SI.com 2003 NHL Playoffs 2003 NHL Playoffs


National Hockey League Scoreboard: Recap
Recap | Box Score | Today's Scoreboard
St. Louis 3, Vancouver 1
Posted: Tuesday April 15, 2003 02:54 AM
Vancouver Canucks
Related Info:
Team Page
City Page:
Vancouver
 

St. Louis Blues
Related Info:
Team Page
City Page:
St. Louis
 

ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- With Norris Trophy candidate Al MacInnis out of the lineup, the St. Louis Blues tightened their defense and rode the hot hand of Doug Weight.

Weight scored two goals and set up another as the Blues posted a 3-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks to take a two games to one lead in their Western Conference quarterfinal series.

Rammed into the boards by Todd Bertuzzi early in the first period of Game Two, MacInnis suffered an apparent right shoulder injury. The Blues' captain was unavailable for this one, but the rest of the defense was able to pick up the slack.

St. Louis held Vancouver to 14 shots, including three in the third period, and grabbed the lead less than two minutes into the second on Pavol Demitra's second goal of the series.

"I just tried to make myself as big as I could and cover as much of the net as possible," Blues goaltender Chris Osgood said. "They attempted a heck of a lot of shots. It's just we blocked probably half of them tonight."

Weight, who helped set up Demitra's tally, gave the Blues a two-goal cushion midway through the period on the power play before adding an empty-netter to seal the win.

Defenseman Marek Malik scored the lone goal for the Canucks, who gave the Blues nine power-play chances with untimely penalties, including Henrik Sedin's holding call with just over two minutes to play in the third period.

"I think the harder working team won tonight," Vancouver coach Marc Crawford said. "That has been the case in each game of the series. We recognize that we have to get our battle level higher. I believe that our guys are capable of going that much higher, and that's what's going to have to happen."

The series resumes Wednesday in St. Louis.

Having posted a shutout in Game One, Osgood made two of his six first-period saves with 11 minutes to go. After gloving defenseman Ed Jovanovski's shot from the right point through a screen, he denied Sedin from the doorstep off the ensuing faceoff.

"He's playing really great, moving the puck well when he has the chance to, making it easier on our defense as well," Blues rookie defenseman Barret Jackman said. "(Just) 14 shots, that's a credit to him as well. He's getting the puck in areas that we can control it. His all-around game is getting better every game."

"They played well, physical, did a good job limiting us, shot-wise," Canucks center Brendan Morrison said. "A lot of times, Osgood was stopping them and playing them, making the defensemen's job easier. ... We have to get more shots. One of the main rules on this team is to put out offense, and we haven't done that, it's no secret."

With MacInnis already sidelined, Tyson Nash became St. Louis' latest victim.

While standing along the right side waiting for the puck, the Blues' agitator was plowed from behind by Daniel Sedin, crashing head-first into the boards. Nash left and did not return, while Sedin was given a boarding penalty.

That penalty did not prove costly, but Sedin's next one did.

Just two seconds after his high-sticking infraction ended, Cory Stillman danced up and down the right side before moving across the faceoff circle to the slot. Spotting Demitra down low, Stillman made a pass that the Blues' regular-season scoring leader swept past Dan Cloutier at 1:44 of the second period.

The Blues cashed in on their next man advantage, thanks to Keith Tkachuk.

With Weight controlling the puck behind the net, Tkachuk battled Murray Baron in the crease. As the defenseman was pushed toward the right goalpost, Weight walked to the low slot and wristed a shot past Cloutier at 10:07 to make it 2-0.

"They scored a nice goal on the power play," Blues coach Joel Quenneville said. "Those guys freelance very well. Maybe it's a different look coming up the ice. But in the zone, I thought Dougie showed really good patience to control the puck on the goal, settled it down, made a couple nice plays to score the goal."

The goal was proof St. Louis' power-play unit could function without MacInnis.

"You know, Al is our biggest strength when he's out there," Weight said. "When he's not out there, we have to react, try different things. Anytime you get the puck in Pavol's hands and you get Walt (Tkachuk) and Mell (Scott Mellanby) ... at what they do, they're probably the best in the world. I just have to get the puck through."

"Obviously, he's a big part of our power play," Tkachuk added. "He's one of the best in the league, best slap shot in the league, attracts a lot of attention. It's an adjustment. We have some pretty good players out there that have to take advantage of it. Fortunately, we found a way tonight."

Osgood kept the Canucks off the board 2 1/2 minutes later, smothering Morrison's shot off a rebound from low in the left circle. But Vancouver converted on the power play to halve the deficit.

From the left point, defenseman Marek Malik wristed a shot that made its way through a screen and past Osgood's glove side with 67 seconds left in the second.

Osgood made just three saves in the final 20 minutes, including one on Markus Naslund's only shot of the game, before Weight put a shot into an empty net while on the power play with 19 seconds remaining.

"They played harder than we did. That's why they beat us," Naslund said. "We were frustrated with not too many chances. We have to play solid, taking chances when they're there. Obviously, our power play isn't clicking at all. We have to go back to basics."

"They battled a lot more," Cloutier added. "You can ask anyone and they'll tell you they wanted it more than we did. In the last three games, two of them they wanted it more than we did. They're a defensive-minded team. It's hard to get chances and opportunities."

 


 
CNNSI