ST. LOUIS – For the second straight time, the St. Louis Blues stunned the goalie that stoned everyone last spring.
Barret Jackman said his eyes were closed when his first career playoff goal sailed past Jonathan Quick and into the net with 50.6 seconds to go in a 2-1 victory Thursday night. It gave the Blues a 2-0 series lead against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings.
“He probably didn’t think I was going to shoot, the way my hands are,” Jackman said. “The building erupted and it’s a pretty good feeling.”
Quick knows he’s to blame for the Kings’ predicament. He was often spectacular in Game 1, but spoiled it with a stickhandling gaffe that led to Alex Steen’s short-handed overtime goal. Quick thought he’d glove the puck on Jackman’s innocent-appearing wrist shot.
“I’ve got to stop that. I’ve got to stop that,” said Quick, the 2012 Conn Smythe Trophy recipient. “It’s my fault. Two games in a row. I’ve got to be better.”
Jackman, a rugged, stay-at-home type who totalled three goals and 12 points in the regular season, joined a rush and scored off a pass from Chris Stewart.
“A great little floater he sent to the net,” said teammate Patrik Berglund, who tied it earlier in the third period. “A great screen so he couldn’t see it.”
Berglund’s deflection tied it early in the third period for St. Louis, which was swept by the Kings in the second round last season while getting outscored 15-6.
“We stole one there,” said forward David Perron, who assisted on the first goal. “The biggest thing is to come back as soon as we can to Earth and get ready for Game 3.”
Dustin Brown scored for the Kings, who’ll try to rebound in Game 3 Saturday night.
“It’s our own fault that we’re in this position,” defenceman Drew Doughty said. “We’ve been fully prepared for their game, fully prepared for what they’re going to do against us, and we just haven’t stepped up to the plate.
“Tonight was a better effort, but we were only good for two periods.”
The Kings led 3-0 in every playoff series last year and are down 2-0 in a playoff series for the first time since 2002, when they lost in seven games to Colorado.
“It’s four games to win a series, so we’ve just got to focus on the next one,” Brown said. “We’ve got to take care of our home ice. That’s it.”
The Blues responded after coach Ken Hitchcock called a timeout with just under three minutes remaining. They have won eight in a row at home, allowing one goal in all eight games.
Brown lost his edge on a drive to the net and barrelled into Brian Elliott midway in the third period, leaving both players shaken up a bit. Brown recovered quickly enough to stay on for the ensuing faceoff.
Berglund tied it at 3:44 of the third with his fourth career playoff goal, charging the net and having a rebound go off his skate and past Quick. He was skidding to a stop when Quick poke-checked a wrist shot by Alex Pietrangelo and it took less than a minute for the goal to be upheld on video review.
Jaden Schwartz lured Quick out of the net on a break-in a little over a minute later, but didn’t get off a shot.
Quick was bent over in pain for several seconds during warm-ups after stopping a shot, then left the ice early. The goalie also spent most of the national anthem bent over as if he were an NFL offensive lineman, but then busily went to work scratching the crease with no evidence he was hurt.
Elliott was not made available to media after the game, leading to speculation he was injured, but Hitchcock said, “He’s fine, no problem.”
The Kings got off to a much better start in Game 2, carrying the play most of the first period. They needed just 6 seconds to convert on a 5-on-3 advantage for their first lead of the series, with Jackman whistled for interference on the heels of a high-sticking call on Ryan Reaves.
LA’s strong play carried over to the second period, with Quick making a nice glove save against Steen on the Blues’ lone shot on two power plays; Steen scored the Game 1 winner in overtime.
The Kings threatened on break-ins by Brown and Justin Williams. Brown, among the league leaders with eight power-play goals, then deflected Brad Richards’ high wrist shot from the slot and the puck dropped to ice level and slid between Elliott’s pads at 9:55. Richards had two goals and three assists during the Kings’ three-game sweep of St. Louis in the regular season.
NOTES: Blues penalty killers had to stop just two chances in Game 1, although it would have been three if Steen hadn’t pickpocketed Quick for the NHL’s first short-handed winner in overtime since Fernando Pisani of Edmonton against Carolina in the 2006 Cup finals, and the first in franchise history. … Blues did not sell out either of the first two games, with attendance of 18,681 for Game 2 about 1,000 shy of capacity. … Brett Hull, the Blues’ career leading goal scorer, was introduced to a huge ovation late in the second period.