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Jaskin unlikely hero for Blues in Game 5

Scores winning goal against Stars in return to lineup

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

DALLAS -- St. Louis Blues forward Dmitrij Jaskin didn't learn he would be making his first appearance in these Stanley Cup Playoffs on Saturday until he got to American Airlines Center in the morning and saw his name on the board.

Jaskin hadn't played since April 7 at the Chicago Blackhawks, the Blues' second-to-last regular season game. But Jaskin made an huge impact against the Dallas Stars in Game 5 of the Western Conference Second Round, scoring the winning goal in a 4-1 victory that gave the Blues a 3-2 lead in the best-of-7 series.

St. Louis can reach the conference final for the first time since 2001 by winning Game 6 at Scottrade Center on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVA Sports).

The first NHL playoff goal of Jaskin's career put the Blues ahead 2-1 in the second period after an effective forecheck by the fourth line. Blues forward Scottie Upshall got around Stars forward Patrick Sharp before feeding defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, who passed to Jaskin for a shot from the slot that Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen stopped with his right pad. Jaskin stayed with the rebound and lifted it over Lehtonen at 10:34.

Video: STL@DAL, Gm5: Jaskin fires rebound past Lehtonen

Jaskin played 7:26 and had two shots on goal. He has a goal and an assist in seven playoff games.

"I think it's great," Jaskin said. "I've been waiting for this moment for three, four weeks. It's great. I found out this morning and I was ready.

"We had a pretty [good] shift. 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."

The shot went in and out so fast that fourth-line forward Kyle Brodziak put the puck back in from the doorstep just in case.

"I thought it was a double crossbar or something, a double post," Jaskin said. "So I didn't really celebrate. It was nice to find out it was in."

With the game starting at 1 p.m. ET, it was a quick turnaround after Game 4 on Thursday night, which prompted Blues coach Ken Hitchcock to change the fourth line. Jaskin, who had four goals and nine assists in 65 regular-season games, was the choice over Ryan Reaves.  

"Our feeling was that with a real short turnaround and the way we were in the third period [of Game 4], energy-wise and with the exertion we need to play at, we thought we would early in the game need four lines," Hitchcock said. "That turned out to be right.

"He's a really physical player. His goal's a perfect example of that. He's a determined offensive player. He's got weight (217 pounds), he's got size (6-foot-2), he's got great hands. Just felt that we needed a line that ... we were anticipating that this was going to be a very long hockey game. There's no gap between the two teams. We felt like this thing could go forever and we thought like we didn't take advantage of our fourth line in the last game and we needed something different and [to be] a little stronger offensively."

Blues goalie Brian Elliott was happy to see Jaskin come through.

"I've been on that other side where you're working to get in the lineup," Elliott said. "You just keep working and you get your chance. He came up big for us tonight."

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