Martin Rucinsky and Doug Weight scored in the shootout, and Legace, who played with Detroit for seven seasons, stopped Jason Williams on his attempt and Pavel Datsyuk hit the post, giving the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win over Detroit on Friday night.
“It was nice to be back in front of the fans,” Legace said. “I saw some signs in the warmup, it brought some tears to my eyes. They missed me and that touched me. They treated me well here. I love it here. My summer home is here. It was a good homecoming.”
Petr Cajanek scored twice for St. Louis, which beat Detroit for only the third time in their last 16 games, and Dallas Drake added two assists. Legace stopped 41 shots in his first game back at Joe Louis Arena after signing with the Blues as a free agent during the off-season.
Legace lost a 3-2 decision to Detroit in St. Louis on Oct. 28.
Rucinsky beat Dominik Hasek with a wrist shot and Weight put a backhander in off of Hasek.
“It’s always nice to get the first goal in a shootout, especially when they go first and miss,” Rucinsky said. “It’s really hard for the other team to catch up. It was a pretty big win for us.”
“I’ve played with Dominik. He’s going to have more good games,” said Rucinsky, who played with Hasek on the Czech Republic’s gold medal-winning team at the 1998 Olympics. “He can miss one against us.”
Henrik Zetterberg had a goal and an assist, and Nicklas Lidstrom also scored for the Red Wings, who are winless in their last four games. Hasek made 17 saves.
Detroit defenceman Chris Chelios passed Phil Housley to become the leader in NHL games played by American-born players with 1,496. The milestone came against former U.S. Olympic teammates Weight, Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin. Chelios captained the squad last winter in Turin, Italy.
Lidstrom tied it 2-2 on a power-play goal with 8:17 left in the third period, when he put in a cross-crease pass from Pavel Datsyuk.
“They looked fresh,” said Lidstrom. “We were standing still out there.”
Legace stopped Kris Draper’s tip attempt from about five feet in front of the net with 2:25 left in regulation.
Red Wings’ coach Mike Babcock credited Legace, who was in net for Detroit when it was upset in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Edmonton Oilers last spring.
“He played well. He gave them an opportunity,” said Babcock. “… Many made some good saves. Give him credit.”
Cajanek’s first goal opened the scoring 1:24 into the second period, when he beat Hasek with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle. Zetterberg tied it at 4:03, when he tipped in Jason Williams’ pass. Cajanek restored St. Louis’ lead at 7:14, when he scored from the high slot.
“The two points are huge for us,” said Cajanek, who returned after missing three games with a hip injury. “I hope we can keep going like this. Every goal helps build the confidence. It’s definitely nice to score two goals against a guy like that. It’s huge.”
Note: Detroit D Niklas Kronwall returned after missing four games with a groin injury. He signed a five-year contract worth $15 million. … Red Wings’ LW Johan Franzen missed the game because of a concussion and sore knee. … Blues D Matt Walker missed his fifth game with a strained groin.