The unlikely combination of Jason Blake and Ray Emery lifted the Anaheim Ducks into the top eight in the Western Conference playoff race.
Emery stopped 30 shots for his first NHL win in more than a year and Blake scored both goals for the Ducks as they beat St. Louis 2-1 on Wednesday night. The win gives the Ducks 81 points and moves them past Calgary into eighth place in the West. Both teams have 81 points, but Anaheim has two games in hand.
It's the first time the Ducks have been in the top eight since Feb. 19.
"We are in the playoffs right now," Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. "Our message is now we have to earn the right to stay in. We found a way to win the hockey game tonight."
With the Blues able to shut down Anaheim's big guns, Blake stepped up with a pair of goals in his second game back after being sidelined with a lacerated hand.
"It's definitely a good feeling," said Blake, whose second goal 1:50 into the third period broke a 1-1 tie. "Every game right now for us is a playoff mentality and you have to be ready to play. I thought Ray played unbelievable tonight and made some great, key saves. It's been a long time coming for him. He did a great job."
Emery played the third period in Sunday's 5-2 loss to Phoenix and got the call as Carlyle opted to sit Dan Ellis. He hadn't played since winning for Philadelphia on Feb. 1, 2010 -- prior to undergoing major hip surgery.
"I definitely had butterflies going and was excited to get in there," Emery said. "I don't control when I play, who I play against or what kind of game. When you get the opportunity, you want to make the most of it."
Emery allowed a second-period goal by Blues defenseman Nathan Oystrick, but otherwise got plenty of help from his teammates -- even when St. Louis pulled goaltender Jaroslav Halak for an extra attacker in the final minute.
"They buzzed around the net, cycled pucks, throw it and people try to whack at it," Emery said. "I just had to stay sharp on those little jam plays. Luckily enough, we went into the third with a chance to win. We did a good job of getting one and keeping the lead."
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said Emery made the difference.
"It came down to Emery having a great night," Shattenkirk said. "We had some good chances, but we've got to bury our chances. They're playing very desperate right now. They're obviously fighting for a spot, and they're a pretty big team. They're very physical, and their top two lines have a lot of skill. It's a pretty deadly combination."
The Blues remained 13th in the West as they continue to struggle to score.
"We had our chances, and we just needed to find a way to finish, or find a way to grab one when the goalie was out of position," coach Davis Payne said.
Oystrick's power-play goal at 9:54 of the second period put the Blues ahead, but Blake tied it at 11:28 when his centering pass for Teemu Selanne hit the skate of defenseman Roman Polak and slid past Halak.
Blake got the winner by going to the slot and tipping in Lubomir Visnovsky's slap shot while standing with his back to the net.
The Ducks have two days off, so they may not be in eighth by the time they take the ice in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
"We'll enjoy this one," Blake said, "but it's obviously a huge game on Saturday against the Kings. We have to make sure that we do the same things that we did tonight, but even better."
Material from team media was used in this report