By Tony Lee
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
BOSTON (Ticker) – The Boston Bruins seemingly were winners again
– until David Backes and the lowly St. Louis Blues had one last
Backes scored a shocking goal with less than one second left in
regulation and shootout tallies from T.J. Oshie and Brad Boyes
propelled the Blues to an improbable 5-4 victory over the
Bruins, who blew a two-goal lead in the final two minutes of
regulation on Monday.
While the win was an unlikely one for the Western Conference
doormats on the ice of the East’s best team, how it occurred
will be talked about for a long time.
Backes’ tally – his 16th of the season – will be the focus of
“We were all just trying, really all desperate there at the end
trying to get anything we could get going,” said Backes, who
batted a floating puck out of the air past All-Star Tim Thomas
with 0.8 seconds remaining.
Following a five-minute review, the referees allowed the goal,
ruling that the puck was not directed with a high stick.
The Bruins (33-8-5) scored three times in a span of 99 seconds
to turn a one-goal deficit into a 4-2 lead on All-Star
defenseman Zdeno Chara’s 10th goal of the season with 3:05
The TD Banknorth Garden crowd, relatively quiet throughout most
of a lackluster game, came to life.
But David Perron converted a power-play tally with 1:40 left,
pulling St. Louis within 4-3 and setting up the wild finish.
The Blues first saw Boston rookie Blake Wheeler miss an empty
net shot with 22 seconds left and then used an extra attacker to
pressure Thomas on a final rush.
Veteran Keith Tkachuk got a shot on Thomas with about two
seconds left that bounced into the air in front of Backes as the
clock hit 19:59. But just before the last tick went off, Backes
slapped the puck past Thomas for the equalizer.
“It looks like at one angle, the stick is well below (the
crossbar) and the other angles, you’re not as sure,” St. Louis
coach Andy Murray said. “They couldn’t prove anything so the
referees on the ice thought it was a goal.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien was expecting the ruling to be
“Everybody except the people in charge don’t happen to think it
was a goal,” Julien said. “They’re the ones who decide it and
they called it inconclusive. It goes with what the referee
calls initially and he called it a goal. Not much else I can
say about it.”
After Wheeler failed to convert another good opportunity in the
shootout, Oshie beat Thomas easily. Axelsson was stuffed by
Chris Mason, who took over for injured starter Manny Legace
midway through the first, and former Bruin Boyes completed the
stunner by sliding the puck between Thomas’ legs.
“Credit to our guys,” said Mason, who stopped 21 shots in just
under 52 minutes.
“It was a heck of a finish and we didn’t give up. We could have
easily packed it in there, game over. We just kind of got lucky
there and found a way to do it.”
Wheeler blamed the loss on himself for the two missed
opportunities, a claim his teammates were quick to shoot down.
“Things like that happen,” Michael Ryder said. “I can’t remember
how many open nets I’ve missed. Things like that happen. It’s
not the reason we lost the game. It’s one of those things.
It’s not Blake’s fault.”
Three minutes after Chuck Kobasew opened the scoring for the
Bruins, Brad Winchester tied it by tipping in a drive from
defenseman Jeff Woywitka.
Jay McClement had his fourth goal of the season 6:51 into the
second to give St. Louis a 2-1 edge, a lead that lasted nearly
Boston was held without a shot for the first 15 minutes of the
third period, but Ryder and Axelsson scored power-play goals 19
seconds apart after the Bruins were given a 5-on-3 advantage.
Chara’s tally with 3:05 remaining appeared to be the clincher.
“We got ourselves in a position with a two-goal lead with three
minutes left,” Julien said. “With the type of team we have there
is no way they should get back in the game.”
Thomas made 27 shots for Boston, which is now 4-3-1 after a
10-game winning streak.