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game recap

Backes scores in OT, Blues top Stars to even series

Power-play goal wins Game 2 after Dallas rallies to force overtime

by Steve Hunt / Correspondent

DALLAS -- David Backes scored a power-play goal 10:58 into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 victory against the Dallas Stars in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round at American Airlines Center on Sunday.

Dallas goaltender Antti Niemi made a pad save on Alexander Steen's slap shot from the top of the right circle, but Backes was there to knock in the rebound. It's the second overtime goal of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs for Backes; the other gave the Blues a 1-0 victory in Game 1 of their first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm2: Backes buries OT PPG to even series

It was a nice way for Backes to celebrate his 32nd birthday; his teammates serenadded him in the locker room afterward.

"I want to know what they did with the money their parents gave them for voice lessons," Backes joked.

The goal came with Dallas forward Antoine Roussel serving an interference penalty and was the Blues' second power play in overtime.

The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1. Game 3 is in St. Louis on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports).

Troy Brouwer had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, which also got goals from Patrik Berglund and Joel Edmundson. Elliott made 31 saves.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm2: Edmundson buries Brouwer's pretty feed

The Blues needed Backes' goal after failing to hold a 3-1 lead in the third period.

"The worst lead in hockey is a two-goal lead," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "But it's natural; you play the score. You don't want to get caught, so you put a safety net up. It's been like that ever since I started coaching. The thing that impressed me more than anything is the way we played in overtime. Outstanding. We went into attack mode and stayed on it the whole time. I was really impressed with the way we did OT."

Dallas trailed 3-1 after two periods, but Mattias Janmark made it 3-2 at 4:35 of the third when he split the defense in the neutral zone, went in alone and beat goaltender Brian Elliott with a wrist shot. Stars captain Jamie Benn tied the game with 2:36 remaining, scoring his fifth goal of the playoffs. Benn was alone in the slot when he picked up a loose puck after a blocked shot and quickly lifted a shot over Elliott.

"We were confident," Benn said of the Stars' mindset heading into overtime. "We're going into these overtimes with our heads up. It's anyone's game and we're going out there to win them. It's unfortunate. We took a couple of penalties and they capitalized."

Troy Brouwer had a goal and an assist for St. Louis, which also got goals from Patrik Berglund and Joel Edmundson. Elliott made 31 saves, and Robby Fabbri and Kevin Shattenkirk each had two assists.

"The win was huge," Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester said. "We did a good job, got out feeling good about ourselves. If you win in overtime, that's good, and bringing the series back even, that's good."

Video: STL@DAL, Gm2: Ja. Benn sets up Goligoski's snipe

Defenseman Alex Goligoski had a first-period goal for the Stars, and center Cody Eakin had three assists. Niemi made 19 saves after relieving starter Kari Lehtonen to start the second period.

"We showed a lot of composure being down 3-1 and we battled back," said Roussel, who took three of the five minor penalties assessed to the Stars. "That's a positive point tonight I think."

The Blues scored on their first two shots of the game and on three of their five shots in the first period.

"We did a few things our way in the first few minutes," Shattenkirk said. "We forechecked well, put pucks in the right places. Once we saw it, it seemed like it was infectious for our team. It led to us playing a great game and establishing our game."

Goligoski gave Dallas an early lead with his third goal of the playoffs at 3:36 of the first period. He one-timed a slap shot from the left circle that beat Elliott inside the far post.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm2: Brouwer slams home PPG

But the Blues tied the game 35 seconds later when Berglund scored in similar fashion, one-timing a slap shot from the lower left circle to beat Lehtonen, also inside the far post.

St. Louis took its first lead of the series at 7:02 when Edmundson made it 2-1 with his first playoff goal, a wrist shot from the left circle off the rush that beat Lehtonen top shelf. Brouwer gave the Blues a 3-1 lead at 18:40 with a power-play goal.

Dallas coach Lindy Ruff changed goaltenders to begin the second period, replacing Lehtonen with Niemi. Lehtonen allowed three goals on five shots.

"It really wasn't his night, and I felt that he was off and just went decided to go with Antti," Ruff said.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm2: Eakin feeds Janmark for breakaway goal

The game was delayed several minutes at 4:47 of the third when Jason Spezza's slap shot hit Elliott in the face, breaking his mask. After getting some medical attention, Elliott received a new mask and remained in the game.

"It hit my mask, broke the cage and surprised the heck out of me," Elliott said. "I just felt something go in there [into my eye]. I don't know if it was a paint chip."

Dallas outshot St. Louis 13-2 in the third period and 29-17 in regulation.

"I think we had a good feeling [going into the third period]," Janmark said. "We just stuck with it and then we got that goal [to make it 3-2]. When you're within one, you get a lot of energy, and we were able to build off of that."

Video: Backes buries OT winner, evens series at 1-1

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