ST. LOUIS – Carlo Colaiacovo’s perfect timing gave the St. Louis Blues one shot at a victory.
Colaiacovo was in the right place at the right time, and the Blues defenceman made no mistake with a one-timer, scoring 1:47 into overtime to give the Blues a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
Colaiacovo followed up Alex Steen’s backhand attempt and fired a slap shot over the left shoulder of goalie Brian Boucher to give the Blues a season-opening win.
“You hope for an opportunity like that throughout the game,” Colaiacovo said of his third career goal against the Flyers. “Luckily, I just found myself in the right spot at the right time. Thankfully, it went in. Huge goal for us, huge win for us.”
Boucher called it a busted play that went well for the Blues.
“I didn’t even see it,” Boucher said. “I think we turned it over and then the puck went in front and then it just went right to him. I could see the guy winding up, but they had a couple guys in front. I just tried to take position. He blew it by me.”
Steen forced a turnover in the Philadelphia zone, then curled around Boucher and fired off a backhand shot. The puck fell into the slot to an onrushing Colaiacovo, who was about to skate off the ice before reading the play.
“After mine got blocked, you turn around and I saw Carlo coming down with a full head of steam,” Steen said. “It looked like a good opportunity. I was just happy to see the puck go in.”
The Blues also got a goal from Brad Boyes. Steen had two assists, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots in his St. Louis debut.
“I got a few (shots) after a while, but I was still in the game. I was trying to focus,” said Halak, traded to the Blues by Montreal over the summer. “I felt comfortable out there and it showed at the end of the game.
“It’s great to win that first game.”
The Flyers, who opened their season with a victory in Pittsburgh on Thursday, got a goal from Danny Briere—his second in two games. Boucher stopped 23 shots in the loss.
“They came out hard. They’re a young group and energetic,” Boucher said of the Blues. “It’s their home opener, they’ve got a new goalie. Everyone starts out with great enthusiasm at the start and they certainly came out with that.”
The Blues took the lead in a penalty-filled opening period when Boyes scored a power-play goal at 15:48. Each team had a two-man advantage in the period, but only the Blues cashed in on theirs as Boyes deflected home a one-timer from Erik Johnson.
The teams combined for 25 penalties and 64 minutes of penalty time. The Flyers were 0 for 5 on the power play. The Blues finished 1 for 10.
“There were a lot of penalties,” Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk said. “You see that a lot earlier in the year just because the refs got the memo that (the league) wants to crack down. Obviously, you still have to find a way to win.”
Halak preserved the lead with a couple of point-blank stops in the waning seconds of the opening period.
Halak thwarted Mike Richards on a short-handed attempt in the second period, kicking out his right pad during a 2-on-1 rush early in the period, in which the Blues outshot Philadelphia 11-6.
“I think it was the second period where we were just pushing them down and holding them down in their end,” Steen said. “In the third, for whatever reason, we got pushed back a little bit.”
The Flyers tied it when Briere knocked in a rebound high over Halak’s glove after the goalie initially stopped Matt Carle’s shot from the high slot 2:15 into the third period.
Briere nearly won it for the Flyers in overtime, but his shot from the slot hit the crossbar with 3:31 left.
“I thought we played a good game,” Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. “The more the game went on the better we played.”
NOTES: Flyers D Chris Pronger (right knee) missed his second straight game. Pronger played in 598 games over nine seasons with St. Louis (1995-2004). … The Blues honoured Hall of Famer Brett Hull with a pre-game ceremony in which they unveiled a statue of Hull to go alongside Hall of Famers Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis. … Flyers G Michael Leighton will undergo surgery on Monday to repair a herniated disk in his back. He will miss 6-to-8 weeks. … Flyers F Scott Hartnell received an automatic ejection after instigating a fight with Blues F Brad Winchester. … Blues F Cam Janssen (upper body) took an inadvertent elbow from Winchester late in the second period and didn’t return.