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Blues start home-and-home with win against Stars

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- David Backes scored in the ninth round of the shootout to give the St. Louis Blues a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars at Scottrade Center on Saturday.

Backes beat Antti Niemi and Jake Allen made a save on Vernon Fiddler to win the first of a home-and-home between the teams. They play Sunday in Dallas.

The Blues tied the franchise record for longest shootout before Backes won it with his first goal in five career attempts.

"I figured around seven or eight [rounds] I should re-tie my skates and get ready," Backes said. "You never know what's going to happen. It's one of those things where we score, they score, we don't score, they don't score. I was put in a good situation by a lot of guys before me and able to come through. It was a good feeling to get two points. Now we've got to go into their barn and have another highly contested 60 minutes."

Alexander Steen, Vladimir Tarasenko, Jori Lehtera and Dmitrij Jaskin scored in the shootout for the Blues (22-11-4), who led 2-0 in the tiebreaker before the Stars rallied.

"It was long," Steen said. "That's the longest one I've been a part of, I think. It was a long one.

"It's difficult when you give up a 2-0 [lead] like that and then it goes back and forth. I looked at [Allen] when it was over and he just gave me [a relieved look]."

The Stars (26-7-3) got shootout goals from Jamie Benn, Patrick Sharp, Jason Spezza and Patrick Eaves.

"I thought it was just a little bit of scattered play where we had some pockets of energy, but we didn't skate as well as a team as we've normally skated," Stars coach Lindy Ruff said. "Probably the break affected us a little bit."

Sharp thought he won it in overtime but was robbed by the stick of Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. Sharp and Spezza went in on a 2-on-1, Spezza fed Sharp, who pulled the puck to his backhand around Allen and flipped it towards the net. But Shattenkirk was at the left post and batted the puck down 3:11 into overtime to keep the game going.

"I put my hands up," Spezza said. "I thought it went in. A pretty spectacular play by, I think Shattenkirk; a little luck though. A little good hand-eye. That's just how it went for us tonight.

"We just get back at it tomorrow we see these guys again."

Colton Sceviour and Tyler Seguin scored for the Stars; Niemi made 35 saves.

"Antti's played very well for us," Ruff said. "I thought he had a great night for us."

Steen and Robby Fabbri scored for the Blues, Allen made 22 saves.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was pleased with his team's play.

"We played very well," Hitchcock said. "We played very well from start to finish. This is similar to the Boston effort [a 2-0 victory against the Boston Bruins on Tuesday]. We did a lot of good things. It would have been an absolute shame to not walk away with points, but we did a number of really good things today."

Fabbri's eighth of the season tied the game 2-2 with 1:50 remaining. It came after a pass from Jay Bouwmeester, who weaved into the Dallas zone before centering to the slot.

"It was a great play by [Bouwmeester]," said Fabbri, who has goals in three consecutive games. "After the shot, I didn't see anything after that. I just saw the guys come over. It's a good feeling."

The Blues had the first 11 shots on goal in the second period and took a 1-0 lead on Steen's power-play goal, a slap shot from the high slot that deflected into the net off Niemi's glove at 6:18. Tarasenko assisted on the goal to extend his point streak to a career-high eight games (six goals, six assists).

The Stars tied the game 1-1 on their first shot of the period, Sceviour's goal from in tight on Allen. Sceviour took a through-the-legs feed from Cody Eakin and beat Allen short side with a wrist shot at 8:15.

The goal was the Stars' first against Allen in 184:36.

Seguin's 150th NHL goal gave Dallas a 2-1 lead with 37 seconds left in the second. He took a pass from Sharp, sped into the Blues' zone and wound up for a slap shot that got through Allen.

Seguin, who started his career with the Boston Bruins, has played 389 NHL games.

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