Blues, Blackhawks, Ducks open playoffs with victories

Associated Press

Published — Thursday 2 May 2013

Last update 2 May 2013 2:48 am

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ST. LOUIS: St. Louis’ Alex Steen stole the puck from goalie Jonathan Quick behind the net and scored to give the Blues a 2-1 overtime victory over the defending NHL champions, the Los Angeles Kings, as the playoffs got underway on Tuesday.
The Chicago Blackhawks also won 2-1 in overtime, downing the Minnesota Wild, while the Anaheim Ducks won 3-1 over the Detroit Red Wings as all three home teams won.
St. Louis’ Steen scored unassisted on a backhander at 13:26 of overtime, less than a minute after the Blues had been reduced by one man when defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was whistled for high sticking.
Steen also scored on a power play in the first period for the Blues, who ended an eight-game losing streak against the team that swept them in the second round last spring.
Quick, last year’s playoff MVP, made 35 saves in regulation, keeping the Kings in it long enough for Justin Williams to score the tying goal with just 31.6 seconds left in regulation, but rued holding the puck long enough for Steen to score the winner.
“You try to force it and I tried to give my D-men a little more time with the puck,” Quick said. “I tried to make a good decision and he got a stick on it.”
Game 2 of the series will be played Thursday. “We had a chance to win the game, everybody was focused on doing that,” Kings center Anze Kopitar said. “Unfortunately, we gave up what obviously shouldn’t happen, can’t happen.”
In Chicago, Bryan Bickell scored in overtime on a two-on-one rush as the Blackhawks escaped with a narrow victory over Minnesota after a dominant regular season.
Goalie Corey Crawford settled down after allowing a weak goal in the opening minutes, while Marian Hossa also scored for Chicago.
The Blackhawks finally put the game away when Johnny Oduya chipped the puck off the boards to Viktor Stalberg on the right side. Stalberg then dished it to Bickell on the two-on-one rush in front for the winner at 16:35 of overtime.
Anaheim veteran Teemu Selanne scored a memorable power-play goal early in the third period to put the hosts in front and the Ducks went on to beat Detroit.
Jonas Hiller made 21 saves, Nick Bonino also scored a power-play goal, and Francois Beauchemin added an empty-netter for the second-seeded Ducks. They hung on in the final minutes of the opener in just their second playoff series in four years. The 42-year-old Selanne came up with yet another huge goal for the Pacific Division champions, putting a perfectly placed one-timer over Jimmy Howard’s shoulder while gliding backward.
Howard stopped 24 shots and Daniel Cleary scored on a power play for the Red Wings in their 22nd consecutive postseason appearance.

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