Bill Guerin scored and Manny Legace and Curtis Sanford combined to stop 23 shots for St. Louis and shut out Detroit for the first time in 176 games in the Blues’ 1-0 victory Thursday night. “We needed them to come up big and they did,” Murray said. “I was a spectator. I enjoyed the ride like everybody else in the building.”
The Red Wings were last shut out Jan. 7, 2004, in a 3-0 loss to Boston – a string of 175 games. Calgary holds the NHL record for consecutive games without being shutout – 264 from Nov. 12, 1981 to Jan. 9, 1985.
“A blind dog finds a bone once in a while,” Babcock said. “I mean, everything happens once in a while. Give them full credit. They worked hard. They had a game plan, they stuck to it.”
It was Detroit’s third game in four days and the Blues wanted to work them in the first period to sap their energy. St. Louis outshot the Red Wings 16-3 in the first 20 minutes.
“We got off to such a slow start and on back-to-back nights you can’t get off to a slow start and give them more life,” Babcock said.
Murray had his own perspective.
“They’re not tired coming in unless you make them play tired,” he said. “We got after them. We were fairly relentless with our forecheck.”
Legace, who stopped 10 shots, was crunched by Detroit’s Tomas Holmstrom in a collision in front of the goal with 15:47 left in the second period. Holmstrom was sent flying into Legace by Bryce Salvador.
Play was stopped as a trainer looked at Legace. The goalie stayed in briefly and then left the game with 16:26 and was replaced by Sanford.
“The puck was really blurry,” said Legace, who said he was experiencing neck pain as well. “I decided it’s not good to face this. Against these guys, if you’re a second too slow, the puck will beat you. I thought it was better for the team to get me out of the net.”
Sanford had not played in two weeks.
“I’m just doing my job,” Sanford said. “I’m glad I got a chance to play and do something good for the team.”
Murray absolved Holmstrom on the play.
“My feeling is that one of our defenceman was crowding Holmstrom,” Murray said. “I don’t think he would intend to run a goalie over. If I feel differently, I’ll tell you tomorrow.
“What I always say about goalies is they picked the life. They could have been forwards or defencemen. They wanted to be goalies so that’s what they have to live with.”
The loss ended a five-game winning streak for the Red Wings, who are 3-3-1 against St. Louis this season. The Blues entered the game having lost four of their last five games.
Backup goalie Joey MacDonald started his fifth game of the season for the Red Wings, who gave Dominik Hasek the night off. MacDonald last started Jan. 20 in a 3-1 loss to Colorado and has yet to win in the NHL.
The Blues’ goal came at 5:01 of the second period. Guerin hit a shot from the right faceoff circle and it bounced in off Detroit defenceman Chris Chelios.
“It’s one of those things you can’t do anything about,” MacDonald said. “You know the game was going to be either won or lost on a bounce like that.”