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Night after Peverley incident, Stars defeat Blues

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- There was no question the Dallas Stars' game against the Columbus Blue Jackets would be postponed after the cardiac incident involving forward Rich Peverley. There was some question as to whether Dallas would travel to play against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday.

Peverley, who collapsed Monday on the bench during the first period, is resting comfortably, general manager Jim Nill said in a statement released by the team.

The Stars made the trip and left with two points when Jamie Benn's goal with 1:18 remaining in overtime gave them a 3-2 victory at Scottrade Center.

The Stars (32-23-10), who remained one point in front of the Phoenix Coyotes for the second Stanley Cup Playoff wild-card spot in the Western Conference, got goals in regulation from Colton Sceviour and Antoine Roussel. Goalie Tim Thomas stopped 28 shots in his first start after being acquired at the NHL Trade Deadline.

Dallas chose not to use a "Win One for the Gipper" approach, but Peverley wasn't far from anyone's mind.

"Obviously last night was a scary situation but today's a new day," Benn said after scoring his 26th goal. "We were thinking about Rich back home, but I thought we did a great job getting mentally ready for this game. We're still in a big playoff push and we found a way to get two points.

"It's not easy. It hit our guys pretty good last night. We did a great job as a group."

Benn took a pass from Trevor Daley and beat goalie Ryan Miller high on the short side.

"Obviously it's a great win," Benn said. "I thought our guys did a great job staying patient."

Stars coach Lindy Ruff sent a text message to Peverley in Dallas and got a quick response.

"I think they'd let him [watch the game]," said Ruff, whose team also played without Alex Chiasson because of an anxiety episode following Peverley's episode. "I know he was undergoing tests, [I'm] not sure whether he was sedated.

"... He was happy, he said, 'Keep rolling.' I just said at the end, 'See you tomorrow.'"

Alex Pietrangelo and Roman Polak scored for the Blues. Miller made 27 saves and lost for the first time in five starts since being acquired from the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 28.

"I came across. I just went from a down position covering the more obvious play and it just leaves you a little more out of position for those cross passes," Miller said of the game-winner. "I kind of knew [Benn] got lost up there, but no one was on the backside the way the play developed. Just didn't get my whole body over in time."

The Blues (44-14-7) have 95 points, two more than the Anaheim Ducks in the race for the Presidents' Trophy. St. Louis leads the Pittsburgh Penguins, the top team in the Eastern Conference, by three points.

Despite the loss, St. Louis set a franchise record for consecutive games with at least a point in division play; they're 18-0-2 in the Central. In 1968-69, when there was no overtime and games ended in ties, the Blues were 15-0-4 in the West Division.

The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the Blues, but coach Ken Hitchcock said he could see this result coming after one-goals wins against the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild.

"We got away with this in Colorado and got away with it in Minnesota," Hitchcock said. "We didn't get away with it tonight. We're just feeding teams transition. We're not putting pucks in deep, we're not getting on the grind. We're turning way too many pucks over. The times that we did things the right way, we were really effective. We had a lot of good play, but we just got too many inconsistencies within our group about putting pucks in deep, playing the right way ... so we pay for it."

The Stars took the lead when Roussel broke in and squirted a backhand through Miller after a David Backes turnover 2:19 into the third period.

Much of Dallas' transition game is based off speed, and the Blues seemed to feed into the Stars' strength.

"They put you under pressure, make you make plays before you want to and faster than you want to and create turnovers," Backes said of the Stars. "If we talk to each other, make solid plays tape-to-tape, get pucks out, get pucks in, go forecheck, that's tough to play fast when we're doing that. We didn't get to that game a ton. The result is a loss on the record, but we've got to take some learning lessons from this one as well and play a good team on Thursday."

Polak's first goal in 37 games tied it 2-2 at 5:01 of the third. His fourth goal of the season, which tied a career high, came off a one-timer from inside the blue line that beat Thomas high to the stick side.

The Blues, who did not earn a victory for only the sixth time when scoring the first goal (36-1-5), had much of the better play the remainder of the period but could not get another puck past Thomas.

Pietrangelo's first goal since Jan. 10, a span of 21 games, gave the Blues a 1-0 lead. Magnus Paajarvi's wraparound attempt created a loose puck and gave Pietrangelo the opportunity to jump into the play and beat Thomas 13:01 into the first period.

Sceviour, recalled earlier in the day to replace Peverley, got the Stars even when he was on the doorstep and backhanded a shot past Miller, who gave up a rebound on Alex Goligoski's one-timer from the right point on the power play with 52.7 seconds remaining in the first. The Blues had killed 33 of 35 since Feb. 1, a span of 11 games.

The Stars had every reason to lose Tuesday night but didn't.

"I told them you can look for a reason to lose or you can find a way to win," Ruff said, "and I said we need to find a way to win and we need to win it for a couple of our teammates.

"We didn't spend a lot of time talking about St. Louis. We just talked about how we wanted to play."

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