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A freak injury will sideline the St. Louis Blues' All-Star goaltender for at least one game and maybe more.
The Blues won't have Manny Legace in net as they try to avoid a third straight loss when they host the Florida Panthers on Saturday night.
Legace left after one period with a left hip flexor injury after allowing two goals on 12 shots in a 4-0 home loss to Los Angeles on Friday. The injury apparently occurred when he slipped on the carpet placed on the ice for Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin, who dropped the ceremonial first puck prior to the game.
Just before the ceremony, Legace was the first player onto the ice for St. Louis. A team official pointed to the carpet. But Legace said the official moved his own foot from the carpet just as Legace stepped down, causing the carpet to slide.
Legace fell, then gingerly made his way to the crease.
"I felt a pull right away," Legace said. "I was hoping it would just go away."
Selected to the Western Conference All-Star team in 2007-08, Legace, 4-2-0 with a 2.94 goals-against average this season, said he won't play in this contest and is uncertain if he will miss more time for the Blues, who are 2-2-0 on a seven-game homestand
The veteran doesn't blame Palin, the self-described "Hockey Mom," for the injury.
"She's been pretty good for our game," Legace said. "I'm starting to like her more and more. No grudge."
Ben Bishop replaced Legace in his NHL debut and allowed two goals on 17 shots. He is likely to start this contest with regular backup Chris Mason out for at least another week after undergoing an appendectomy.
St. Louis (4-3-0) looks to bounce back after being shut out for the first time this season. Keith Tkachuk failed to score a goal for the first time in eight games, while Paul Kariya had a career-best nine-game assists streak snapped Friday. He had 12 assists over that span.
"We made poor decisions, didn't play with enough authority on our game," St. Louis coach Andy Murray said.
Tkachuk has 12 goals in 18 games against Florida, while Kariya has six and 11 assists in 16 career contests versus the Panthers.
Florida (4-3-0), which won the last meeting between the teams 1-0 on Dec. 13 at St. Louis, moved into first place in the Southeast Division with a 4-3 home win over San Jose on Friday to post consecutive victories for the first time this season.
"It's a big win for us," said Cory Stillman, who had two goals and an assist. "We fell behind early in the game, then we showed a little bit of attitude that we were going to compete."
Defenseman Keith Ballard added three assists and Richard Zednik scored his first goal since he sustained a life-threatening neck injury in Buffalo last February. Tomas Vokoun made 47 saves.
Stillman has four goals and three assists over his last four contests. The former St. Louis wing has six goals and 13 assists against the Blues.
Vokoun, meanwhile, is 11-10-0 with three ties and a 1.96 GAA against St. Louis. He stopped 33 shots to record the shutout in the teams' meeting last season.