By Phil Foley
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
ATLANTA (Ticker) — Keith Tkachuk ended a long power play slump
for the St. Louis Blues and made history along the way. Brad
Boyes made sure that St. Louis’ next chance with the man
advantage was fruitful as well.
Tkachuk became the 72nd player in NHL history to record 1,000
points with a power-play tally in the second period and Boyes
scored the game winner in the third, leading the Blues to a 4-2
win over the listless Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday afternoon at
David Backes scored his fourth goal of the season and Chris
Mason set aside 28 shots for St. Louis, which recorded a
season-best 47 shots on net.
“It was nice to go into the second period and get a goal to tie
it up,” Tkachuk said. “It was exciting to celebrate and have
the guys come out on the ice. This was a big win.”
The St. Louis power play unit has struggled of late, misfiring
on 11 straight chances entering its matinee matchup in Atlanta
before failing to convert on its first opportunity here.
Tkachuk and the Blues made chance No. 13 a historic one.
The 1990 first round pick took advantage of an opportunistic
rebound, banging the puck past Atlanta goaltender Ondrej Pavelec
to notch his 1,000th career point with 4:57 remaining in the
second period to knot the game at 2-2.
“I was in the right place at the right time,” Tkachuk said.
And the right place was on his knees as the hard working center
fell to the ice as he was lofting in the milestone tally into
“I saw the puck (go in),” Tkachuk said. “I guess it’s fitting
to get a goal on the power play like that. It’s really cool.”
His teammates rushed onto the ice to congratulate the four-time
All-Star, who became just sixth American to eclipse the
quadruple digits plateau.
“Most of Tkachuk’s goals have come two feet in front of the
net,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “It was kind of special to
be a part of that.”
Tkachuk, who briefly played with the Thrashers during their only
playoff run in 2007, was given a standing ovation by the crowd
when the milestone was announced.
Atlanta coach John Anderson, whose club is 1-5-1 over its last
five games, was one of the few not celebrating Tkachuk’s
“Congratulations to him on the goal,” Anderson said. “But I
would rather it have been to someone other than us.”
The Blues celebrated what would be the game-winning goal on
their next power play opportunity.
With Ron Hainsey in the box for hooking, Carlo Colaiacovo
feigned a shot, but instead dished the puck to Boyes in the
slot, who blasted the puck past Pavelec from the doorstep at
11:45 of the third period.
“My initial plan was to shoot,” Colaiacovo said. “I saw two
guys coming at me. I saw Boyes all by himself and I tried to
get it to him. He made a great play at the net.”
Center Jeff McClement added his firth goal of the season with an
empty net tally with 2.6 seconds remaining to seal the victory.
“I thought maybe after the 10 minute mark of the second period,
we stopped competing,” Anderson said. “And (St. Louis) was a
team that played yesterday. They just dominated us. We have to
compete more. We’ve stopped competing.”
The blistering Blues attack battered Atlanta netminder Pavelec,
who steered aside 43 shots.
“Ondrej played a (heck) of a game,” blueliner Niclas Havelid
said. “He played an unbelievable game and we hung him out to
Backes opened the scoring by chipping in a rebound from the
doorstep 4:38 into the contest to post St. Louis to a 1-0 lead
before Colby Armstrong followed with a tally at the 6:32 mark.
The Atlanta right wing grabbed the rebound from blueliner Ron
Hainsey’s blast and poked it past St. Louis netminder Chris
Mason to tie the contest at 1-1.
Niclas Havelid followed with a wrister from the blueline past a
screened Mason, giving Atlanta a one-goal lead at 18:35 of the
first period. The goal was the first of the year for the Atlanta
defenseman, who last found the net on November 21, 2007 at the
“I just tried to get the puck in front of the net on my goal,
hoping to hit someone and have it go in, but it went straight
in,” Havelid said. “It was a lucky goal. I was a little
surprised, but sometimes, they go in.”