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Not only did the Blues pick up two very important points; not only did defenseman Mike Weaver score his first goal in 184 games; not only did Eric Brewer have an incredible 12 hits in the game…but Paul Kariya scored the Blues winning goal – that just happened to be his 400th NHL career goal.
Once again, the Blues scored quickly with Brad Boyes slotting his 13th of the season past a rather shaky Henrik Lundqvist after 1.10 of the first period. Less than five minutes later however, the Rangers tied the game on a powerplay goal from Ryan Callahan. Ty Conklin, starting his first game since 4 February 2010, really had no chance with the shot from Jokinen that was tipped in by Callahan. The Rangers scored again late in the period – this time it was Marion Gaborik – to go in at the end of the first 2-1 up, having outshot the Blues 11-4.
The Blues had a strong second period – even though they were outshot 8-6. Mike Weaver scored less than three minutes into the period with a speculative shot from near the Blue line. It’s almost three years since Weaver last scored and, with his hard work on defense – not to mention hard hitting, if anyone deserved a goal it was Mike Weaver. Erik Johnson put the Blues ahead a few minutes later, sliding the puck between Lundqvist’s legs to put the Blues 3-2 up.
The Blues were outshot again in the third – by 10-6 and Wade Redden tied the game for the Rangers with just over 7 minutes gone in the final period. Amazingly, he was roundly booed by his own supporters. The Blues didn’t stop working though – and then it was time for THE goal. Paul Kariya started the move with a good hit that freed the puck. Oshie took the puck up the wing whilst Kariya seemed to drop back a bit at centre. He was biding his time though – and a sudden burst of speed took him past the defender and he positioned himself just in front of Lundqvist in time to redirect a pass from Oshie into the net. It was fitting that Kariya’s 400th goal should be the one to win the game for the Blues.
Kudos must go to the whole team for their workrate – they piled a lot of hits onto the Rangers and Eric Brewer and Mike Weaver were the pick of the defensemen. The Blues survived a five on three in the third, managed to counter Sean Avery’s antics and capitalised on a shaky Lundqvist. Ty Conklin saved 26 out of 29 – a great effort considering he hadn’t started a game since 4 February this year. So, your game reports:
- The Blues Official Site has the recap and game highlights.
- St Louis Game Time Game Day Thread – join the love-in.
- Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch recaps the game with comments from Mike Weaver, Paul Kariya, David Backes, Davis Payne, Erik Johnson and Ty Conklin.
Jeremy Rutherford also has an article about Kariya’s 400th goal – complete with pictures – at The Post Dispatch. So, here it is – goal number 400 for Paul Kariya: