Blues hope to learn from their mistakes; Oshie returns

News-DemocratApril 19, 2014 

— Having a 2-0 lead in an NHL playoff series is never a guarantee for success.

Just ask the St. Louis Blues, who gained a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series against defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago with a 4-3 overtime win Saturday.

The Blues won their first two playoff games at home last season before losing four straight against the Los Angeles Kings.

That marked the only time in 11 occasions when the Blues lost a playoff series after winning the first two games. In NHL history, teams with 2-0 leads in best-of-seven series have won 86.4 percent of the time (287-45).

"It's a different year," said Blues defenseman Barret Jackman, who scored the game-winner Saturday in overtime. "We're a team that's confident and we know that there's nothing taken for granted. You're going into a very hostile environment in Chicago and they're a team that's got a lot of experience.

"They've shown no quit, so we expect another game similar to tonight."

Oshie returns

There was plenty of excitement even before Game 2 as Blues winger T.J. Oshie was back in the lineup.

Oshie missed the previous three games, including the playoff opener, after being injured on a hit to the head by Minnesota's Mike Rupp on April 10. Rupp earned a four-game suspension for the hit.

Oshie didn't have a shot, but played 25 mnutes, 29 seconds.

Oshie was one of the team's top scorers this season with 21 goals and 60 points in 79 games, also earning international fame for his shootout exploits for Team USA at the Winter Olympics.

Oshie was on his familiar spot on the Blues' top line with center David Backes and left winger Alexander Steen. Chicago's Bryan Bickell dumped Oshie with a strong check during the first period.

At the races

Midnight Hawk, a horse co-owned by Blackhawks and former Blues coach Joel Quenneville and trained by Bob Baffert, was edged out at the finish of the $500,000 Illinois Derby by Dynamic Impact.

Midnight Hawk led most of the way after stumbling out of the gate, but lost in a photo finish.

Notes

Vladimir Tarasenko, the Blues winger whose goal with 6.4 seconds remaining in regulation forced overtime Saturday, has a seven-game scoring streak including the regular season.

* Chicago's first goal Saturday by Duncan Keith ended a streak of 53 straight saves by Blues goalie Ryan Miller and ended the Blackhawks' scoreless streak at 119 minutes, 27 seconds dating back to the first period of Game 1.

* Blues veteran forward Brenden Morrow, who played in the team's 4-3 triple overtime victory in Game 1, did not play Saturday.

Other lineup scratches for the Blues were Patrik Berglund, Carlo Colaiacovo, Magnus Paajarvi, Dmitrij Jaskin and Ian Cole.

* The Blues have won six straight playoff games against Chicago and are 10-1 in the last 11 postseason meetings.

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, nsanders@bnd.com or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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