ST. LOUIS — Defenseman Barret Jackman picked an unbelievably opportune time for his first NHL playoff goal.
Jackman rifled a shot past Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick with 50.4 seconds remaining Thursday to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory and a 2-0 lead in their NHL Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Jackman took a pass from Chris Stewart as he crossed the blue line and sent a shot past Quick as the crowd of 18,681 erupted.
"It ranks No. 1, it's pretty big," said Jackman, who had never scored a goal in 22 previous playoff games. "Any time you can contribute in the playoffs, especially a a game-winner late ... to hear the crowd go as nuts as they did, it's a great feeling.
"At playoff time everybody's got to contribute and tonight was apparently my night."
The Blues, who were swept in four games by the Kings in a second-round playoff series last spring, will take a 2-0 lead into Game 3 at 9 p.m. Saturday in Los Angeles.
Jackman was originally hoping to set up a rebound opportunity for Stewart or Andy McDonald, but instead brought the crowd to its feet in an instant.
"I had my eyes closed so I really didn't see it," Jackman said. "The building erupted and that's a pretty good feeling. It's pretty big, it's very emotional. I don't get the opportunity to score goals very often, so it's a big thrill. We'll enjoy it tonight and move on to L.A."
The gritty Jackman knows of what he speaks. He has 23 goals in 644 regular-season games and would never be confused with the term "offensive defenseman."
It was Quick whose Game 1 misplay led to Alexander Steen's overtime goal that gave the Blues a 2-1 victory. This time the veteran goaltender blamed himself for allowing Jackman's goal.
"I've got to stop that, I've got to stop that," Quick said. "It's my fault two games in a row. I've got to be better."
The game seemed headed for overtime after a goal by Blues center Patrik Berglund tied it 3 minutes, 44 seconds into the third period. The rebound of a shot from the right point by Alex Pietrangelo went off Quick, then went in off the skate of Berglund.
After a video review, the goal stood and the teams were tied.
Blues goalie Brian Elliott got a scare with 10:51 remaining after a collision near the right goalpost with Kings forward Dustin Brown.
Elliott appeared to be dazed and stayed down on the ice for several minutes while being attended to by Blues trainer Ray Barile. Elliott eventually got back up and began skating as the crowd of 18,681 filled the building with cheers of "Ell-i-ott, Ell-i-ott."
The Blues spent a lot of time in the penalty box during the first period and Brown made them pay with a power-play goal to put the Kings on top 1-0.
After the Kings received three early power-plays, they were handed a 5-on-3 for a minute and 37 seconds when Jackman was called for interference on the Kings' Drew Doughty.
Fans booed the call, especially after it was seemingly made after the play had been whistled dead.
"It is what it is," Jackman said. "It's over with and it's moot. We got the win and we'll move on."
It didn't take long for the Kings to convert as a shot from the slot by Mike Richards deflected in off of Brown at the 9:55 mark to give L.A. its first lead of the series.
The Blues failed to generate much of anything on their second power-play of the opening period after Brown was called for tripping Blues winger Jaden Schwartz.
Schwartz did fail to convert a good scoring chance late in the period.
Elliott was forced to fend for himself after several turnovers in the second period. He turned away high-quality chances by Richards, a break-in attempt by Brown resulted in a shot that sailed a bit wide and Elliott also robbed Justin Williams.
The Blues scored on their first power-play of the series, then went eight straight without a goal after being scoreless on their first four man-advantage opportunities in Game 2.
"We're still leaning how to win these big games," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said.
Elliott is now 13-2 in his last 15 starts. He has allowed one goal or none in eight of his last nine games. The Blues had won eight straight at home counting their two playoff victories, allowing one goal in each of those games.
The Blues have won all 10 playoff series they've been involved in when winning the first two games. ...The Blues' 2-1 overtime win Tuesday was their first after eight straight losses to the Kings. ...The Kings have lost eight straight on the road, counting two playoff losses to the Blues.