Jonathan Quick was brilliant in goal for defending champion Los Angeles Kings – stopping numerous chances against a physical, forechecking St. Louis Blues team. And then with the game seemingly in hand, he did not see Alexander Steen streaking toward him (pictured). Steen stole the puck from him and scored a short-handed goal in overtime to give the Blues a 2-1 win in the opening game of the series on Tuesday in St. Louis.
It looked like Steen would be the hero all along, as his early goal gave the Blues a 1-0 lead over the team that swept them last year. In the final minute of regulation, Quick went to the bench to get an extra skater on the ice, and it worked, as the Kings scored to send the game into overtime.
The Kings carried that momentum into the overtime, as the more aggressive team with the Blues suddenly on their heels after a game of forechecks. The Blues were truly trying simply to survive for four short-handed minutes while Kevin Shattenkirk was in the penalty box.
The Blues desperately shot the puck down the ice to waste a little time, and Quick went behind his net to set up the next powerplay run. Quick looked to his right and prepared to pass to defenseman Drew Doughty, when suddenly he saw Steen streaking toward to goal.
It was an all-out gamble by Steen, as a pass around him would have left the Kings skating 5 on 3 until he could reverse himself and get back in the play.
However, Steen never let the pass get through. He cut to the left of the net as Quick tried to turn to protect the puck, then tried to bank it around to Doughty. The puck travelled only a couple of feet as Steen got his stick on it, and then reached around the net with his stick to put a backhand in and give the Blues there first win over the Kings since early last season.
Brian Elliott appeared to have the shut to make Steen’s first goal the winner. He had 28 saves, including two in the final five seconds of the first period. Elliott sprawled to stop a shot with his pads that would have gone in the right side of the goal behind him. When his rebound came back in front of the net, he used a lightning fast glove reaction to nip a shot just enough to have it hit the post.
Both keepers were dominant throughout regulation, as each was beaten just once – by a high shot.
Steen’s first goal at 9:05 into the first period with a shot into the top corner over Quick. Elliott made that hold up until Los Angeles’s Justin Williams lifted a tumbling puck just over Elliott’s left shoulder to tie the score with only 31.6 seconds to play in regulation.