Andy Murray knows it. Keith Tkachuk knows it. Even Mike Babcock knows it.
A year ago, when the St. Louis Blues appeared destined to be a bottom feeder in the Western Conference again, there's no way they would come back from two goals down on back-to-back nights to steal four important points from the Detroit Red Wings.
"Probably not," Tkachuk told NHL.com after the Blues did just that in earning a 5-3 victory at the Ericsson Globe on Saturday night, 24 hours after coming back to beat the Wings 4-3 in the opener of the Compuware NHL Premiere-Stockholm. "The thing is we're learning how to win. We're learning how to be mentally stronger and not give in and say, 'Here we go again.' "
The Blues got goals from Brad Boyes and Patrik Berglund 13 seconds apart in the second period to take a 4-3 lead heading into the third. Tkachuk scored his second of the night with 8:12 to play in the third to give the Blues some breathing room.
"I thought they took the game over two nights in a row, physically and work-ethic wise," Babcock said. "(We) turned over too many pucks in the second period and they took advantage of it. (But) it was a night, to me, the game should have been ours."
It could have been had the Red Wings found a way to hit the net on their three first-period power plays. Already ahead 2-0 after scoring twice in the first 128 seconds of the game, the Wings had the Blues running around and committing frustration penalties.
T.J. Oshie dropped Brad Stuart in the neutral zone and took a tripping penalty. David Backes buried Stuart along the wall for no reason and got a roughing penalty. David Perron ran Niklas Kronwall after an icing whistle to take a charging penalty.
The Red Wings held the puck in the zone for nearly all six minutes of their power-play time in the first period but managed just four shots on goal. Dan Cleary also had a goal disallowed when it was ruled his stick was too high on his tip-in of Jason Williams' shot.
"I thought we had some more chances than we did last game," Kronwall said of the power play. "We took it to the net more and took more shots, but the puck wouldn't go in. We have to bear down when we get the chances and we didn't do that enough today."
The Blues did.
"It's 2-0 and it's the same as (Friday). We go down shorthanded a couple of times and if they get a three-goal lead the game is maybe over,"
They got another one 3:27 into the second, this time from Andy McDonald, to fully erase the Red Wings early two-goal lead. Kronwall scored a power-play goal nearly four minutes later, but the Red Wings' lead was short-lived.
Boyes was able to slither the puck between Wings' goalie Jimmy Howard's legs at 13:24 and 13 seconds later Berglund, who got loose after Erik Johnson made a nice bank pass off the neutral zone boards, blasted a slap shot from the left circle through Howard.
Tkachuk got a piece of Johnson's wrist shot from the right point with 6:23 to play in the third period to close the scoring. Prior to that, Conklin came up with a great glove save on Pavel Datsyuk to keep the Blues ahead by one.
"But, you know, we're a better team this year."
--Dan Rosen, NHL.com
|Tomas Holmstrom (1) ASST: Brian Rafalski (1), Johan Franzen (1)|
1 - 0 DET
|Daniel Cleary (1) ASST: Henrik Zetterberg (1), Todd Bertuzzi (1)|
2 - 0 DET
|PPG - Keith Tkachuk (1) ASST: Andy McDonald (2), Paul Kariya (1)|
2 - 1 DET
|PPG - Andy McDonald (1) ASST: Keith Tkachuk (2), Brad Boyes (1)|
2 - 2 Tie
|PPG - Niklas Kronwall (1) ASST: Jason Williams (1), Henrik Zetterberg (2)|
3 - 2 DET
|Brad Boyes (1) ASST: Jay McClement (3), Barret Jackman (1)|
3 - 3 Tie
|Patrik Berglund (1) ASST: Erik Johnson (1), Darryl Sydor (1)|
4 - 3 STL
|PPG - Keith Tkachuk (2) ASST: Erik Johnson (2), Paul Kariya (2)|
5 - 3 STL
|Johan Franzen Roughing against Barret Jackman|
|Barret Jackman Cross checking against Johan Franzen|
|T.J. Oshie Slashing against Brad Stuart|
|David Backes Roughing against Brad Stuart|
|David Perron Charging against Brett Lebda|
|Brad Stuart Holding the stick against Andy McDonald|
|Ville Leino Interference against David Backes|
|Kirk Maltby Elbowing against Paul Kariya|
|Justin Abdelkader Tripping against Alexander Steen|
|Brad Winchester Roughing against Niklas Kronwall|
|Pavel Datsyuk Hooking against B.J. Crombeen|
|Keith Tkachuk Delaying Game-Puck over glass|