ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Two big contributions from a player on the skids put the
St. Louis Blues back in the playoff picture.
Jamal Mayers scored the game-winner with his first goal in 18 games, and
resisted retaliating on a charging call that helped set up the tying goal in a
3-2 victory over Anaheim on Thursday night.
``It's been a while,'' Mayers said. ``It's nice to contribute.''
Chris Pronger had three assists for the Blues, who have 83 points and are
tied with the Oilers for the eighth spot in the Western Conference with six
games to go in a tight four-team battle for the final two positions. At stake
is their streak of 24 consecutive postseason appearances, the longest current
run in professional sports.
``Definitely, we're aware of it,'' forward Pavol Demitra said. ``We're
playing for the people. We've got great fans and everybody is expecting us to
The Blues were 2-for-3 on the power play after going 0-for-10 the previous
``At this time of the year, your power play can win or lose games for you,''
forward Keith Tkachuk said. ``It can carry you into the playoffs.''
Mayers had one assist since his last goal, a bad-angle game-winning goal in
a 4-2 victory over the Coyotes on Feb. 16. He also entered the game with a
minus-20 rating, by far the worst on the team, before scoring on a deflection
of a Pronger slap shot at 8:26 of the third period.
He decided against retaliation after Vitaly Vishnevski slammed him into the
boards late in the second period and was whistled for charging. The Blues ended
up scoring the tying goal early in the third.
``Cooler heads prevailed,'' Mayers said. ``I didn't do anything unwise.''
Pavol Demitra had a goal and an assist and Tkachuk also scored for the
Blues, who finished the season series 2-1-1 against the Mighty Ducks. St.
Louis, playing on four days' rest, cranked it up in the final period after a
Jason Krog and Rob Niedermayer scored for the Mighty Ducks, who had totaled
12 goals in winning their two previous games. In this one, they often dominated
play but were frustrated by goalie Chris Osgood.
Osgood gloved the last of his 20 saves off a high slap shot from Sergei
Fedorov with about eight seconds to go.
``It bent my glove back, I know that,'' Osgood said.
Krog's deflection at 11:49 of the first period of a point shot by Niclas
Havelid gave the Mighty Ducks the early lead.
The Blues tied it at 37 seconds of the second period on Demitra's 22nd goal
on the power play, a shot from the right circle that beat a screened
Jean-Sebastien Giguere. Tkachuk lifted Giguere's stick as the puck went
``He knocked his stick out of his hand, that's automatic,'' Anaheim coach
Barry Babcock said. ``Obviously, they missed it. That was no goal.''
Tkachuk said he didn't intend to break the rules.
``You know, it was just one of those things,'' Tkachuk said. ``I was just
trying to create traffic.''