Blues defeat Stars in Game 5, take 3-2 series lead
St. Louis one win from Western Conference Final; Game 6 Mondayby Steve Hunt / NHL.com Correspondent
DALLAS -- Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny each had a goal and an assist, and Brian Elliott made 27 saves to help the St. Louis Blues defeat the Dallas Stars 4-1 in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round at American Airlines Center on Saturday.
Dmitrij Jaskin, playing his first game of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, scored the game-winner midway through the second period. Troy Brouwer also scored for St. Louis, which won for the second time here to take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.
Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Jaskin fires rebound past Lehtonen
Game 6 is at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports 2). The Blues will try to reach the Western Conference Final for the first time since 2001.
"We've worked hard all series, even in the series before this, to try and give ourselves as many opportunities to clinch as we can," Brouwer said. "The last time, it took us a couple more games than we would have liked. We've learned a lot from those situations, and I think especially going home here for Game 6, it's going to be a real important game for us to try to close this out as soon as possible."
Dallas won Game 4 in St. Louis 3-2 in overtime to tie the series.
"We've been a real good team when we've been backed into the corner," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Let's just focus on the next game and realize that we won the last game in that building. We're prepared to go up there and win a game."
Fabbri gave the Blues a 1-0 lead Saturday when his wrist shot from the left circle deflected off the right skate of Stars rookie forward Brett Ritchie past goalie Kari Lehtonen 6:00 into the first period.
Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Fabbri opens the scoring on deflection
"They got a bounce on their first goal," Ruff said. "That's just puck luck, sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't."
Goligoski tied it 1-1 at 10:58 with his fourth goal of the postseason on a wrist shot from the edge of the left circle that beat Elliott top shelf to the far post.
"I thought we played pretty well," Goligoski said. "I think the early start you worry maybe getting into the game a little bit. We started good and I thought we played a pretty solid game."
Jaskin gave the Blues a 2-1 lead with his first goal of the playoffs at 10:31 of the second period. Lehtonen denied Jaskin's initial wrist shot from the slot, but Jaskin gathered the rebound at the near post and scored his first NHL playoff goal on a shot that traveled around the crossbar before popping back out.
"We had a pretty [good] shift," Jaskin said. "We had the puck for probably 30 seconds. I saw [Jay Bouwmeester] has the puck and he looked at me and tried to pass it through. [We got] a couple bounces, [Lehtonen made] a good save, I was trying to go higher, as high as I can, and ended up in there."
Jaskin last played April 7 against the Chicago Blackhawks.
"Jaskin had a great effort for about 20 seconds keeping the puck along the wall," Blues forward Scottie Upshall said. "Their guys could have got the puck out three or four times where he [Jaskin] just used his big body to get good position. It was a full-line effort. It was a great shift, a big goal for our team to go up 2-1. We used that to kind of catapult our positive vibes."
Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Brouwer slips puck past Lehtonen
Brouwer put the Blues ahead 3-1 with 2:18 remaining in the second with his fourth goal of the playoffs. Brouwer received a deflection at the near post after Kris Russell blocked Stastny's attempt at the far post. Brouwer didn't strike the puck cleanly but it went in.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock couldn't resist having a little fun with Brouwer when asked about the goal.
"Well … he's on the beach, and there's the ocean," Hitchcock said. "It's just got to go in. You just can't miss it from that much sand."
Elliott made two big saves on Cody Eakin, who scored the overtime goal in Dallas' Game 4 win, early in the third period. Elliott denied Eakin's slap shot at close range and then turned away his attempt to score off the rebound.
Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Elliott makes a pair of saves on Eakin
"You try to get over and get big, seal the ice and take care of any garbage left out in the front," Elliott said. "It was kind of a bang-bang play, [I] didn't have much room. [I] just tried to be big."
Dallas outshot St. Louis 12-3 in the third period.
"We've got to cash in [on our chances]," Ruff said. "We put ourselves in position five or six times to make a difference in the game and we didn't put them in the back of the net."
Stastny scored an empty-net goal with 1:40 remaining.
The game was penalty free until Blues captain David Backes was called for holding 4:38 into the third period.
Dallas had two power plays in the period and failed to score. The Stars are 1-for-16 in the series.
"I think we need a full 60-minute effort on Monday night, and that's what we're going to do to win that game," Stars captain Jamie Benn said.