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Blues Hit Late Goal for Win, Red Wings Get OT Win and Blackhawks Seek Win No. 2

The St. Louis Blues didn’t exactly enter the Stanley Cup Playoffs as a strong contender but after their second straight win against the Los Angeles Kings, they’re looking like a tough team to beat.

On Thursday with 50 seconds remaining, Blues Barret Jackson’s goal sailed into the net and enabled his team to take a 2-1 lead for the win. St. Louis now leads the best-of-seven series, 2-0.

Jackson didn’t see the winning shot; instead, he only heard it as he shut his eyes after hitting the puck. He said via NHL.com, “I had my eyes closed, so I really didn’t see it  The building erupted, and it’s a pretty good feeling. We closed it off tonight and not giving up a goal late.”

For the Kings, they’re not used to being down 2-0 in the playoffs. They led 3-0 in each playoff series in 2012 and with their two-game deficit, this represents a first for a playoff series since 2002. At that time, they lost to the Colorado Avalanche in seven games.

Blues Goalie Brian Elliott

Blues Goalie Brian Elliott

This doesn’t bode well against the Blues who are 10-0 in team history when they have a 2-0 playoff series lead. Goalie Brian Elliott may be the difference maker as he has stopped 56 of 58 shots so far.

The series resumes on Saturday for Game 3 when the Kings return home.

Both teams are 14 to 1 to win this year’s Stanley Cup.

In other playoff action from the Western Conference, the Detroit Red Wings defeated the Anaheim Ducks 5-4 in OT.

After having a three-goal lead by the third period, the Red Wings saw this crumble as the Ducks fought back and forced the game into overtime at 4-4. They weren’t going to lose a second straight game in this series and Gustav Nyquist was the team’s MVP as he scored a power-play goal for the team’s OT win.

Red Wings Johan Franzen

Red Wings Johan Franzen

For the night, Detroit’s Johan Franzen contributed two goals followed by Damien Brunner’s first goal in a Stanley Cup playoff game, along with his two assists.

Goalie Jimmy Howard had 28 saves for Detroit while Jonas Hiller stopped 27 shots for Anaheim.

Unfortunately for the Redwings, rookie defenseman Danny DeKeyser is done for the season thanks to a broken thumb.

The series is now tied at 1-1 with Game 3 on Saturday in Detroit. Had Anaheim won, it would have been their first 2-0 series lead in four years (2009) and a first 2-0 series lead against the Red Wings since 2003. But as the winner of the first game, the Ducks have won the playoff series all nine times in the team’s history.

Unfortunately for Anaheim entering Joe Louis Arena at 1-1, it has lost eight of their 13 playoff games there but since 2003, they are 5-4.

For these two teams, Anaheim sits at 11 to 2 to win 2013 NHL Western Conference while Detroit is at 14 to 1.

Blackhawks vs. Wild

On Friday, the Chicago Blackhawks will take on the Minnesota Wild for Game 2 of their series.

The Blackhawks won 2-1 in OT for Game 1 and the Wild walked away making this series more interesting than initially anticipated.

One of Chicago’s strength is its depth while the Wild have struggled with this. On Tuesday, the team watched goalie Niklas Backstrom get scratched at the last minute and inserted Josh Harding to pinch hit. He did a good job (35 saves) considering he only played in five games this season.

Backstrom has been listed as day-to-day.

But the Blackhawks have their own goalie struggles as Ray Emery has been out with a a lower body injury. He is out for Game 2 and coach Joe Quenneville wasn’t sure about his status for Games 3 and 4. Corey Crawford will again be in the net with Henrik Karlsson as his backup.

Expectations are high for the Blackhawks as they won this year’s President’s Trophy. For Game 2, they’ll get another win (-245, 5 o/u) and sit at 15 to 4 to get their second championship in four years.



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