NHL Game Summary - St. Louis at Phoenix
(Tuesday, April 7th)
Final Score: St. Louis 5, Phoenix 1
Glendale, AZ (Sports Network) - B.J. Crombeen scored twice and the St. Louis Blues inched closer to their first playoff berth since the spring of 2004 with a 5-1 win over the Phoenix Coyotes.
Keith Tkachuk tallied a goal and an assist while Brad Winchester and David Perron also scored for the Blues, who won for the seventh time in nine games and moved into sole possession of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. St. Louis, which jumped Nashville following the Predators' 4-2 home loss to Chicago earlier Tuesday, has 88 points with two games remaining.
The Anaheim Ducks also have 88 points but currently own the tie-breaker over the Blues due to more wins. This St. Louis victory, combined with Edmonton's 2-1 regulation loss to the Kings, eliminated the Oilers from playoff contention.
The Blues conclude their regular season with a home game on Friday against Columbus, then a visit to Colorado on Sunday.
Chris Mason was sharp and finished with 28 saves in the win. The Blues swept the season series against the Phoenix franchise for the first time.
"They're a desperate team and if you give them a couple openings, they're going to take advantage of it," said Phoenix coach Wayne Gretzky.
Scottie Upshall scored the only goal for Phoenix, which is out of the playoff race and has dropped two straight following a three-game win streak. Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals on 21 shots in the losing effort and was pulled after two periods in favor of Al Montoya, who stopped two shots in relief.
"The first period was good -- we got on them and carried the momentum, but it was short-lived," said Upshall. "They forechecked better and they won battles, and that was the difference in the game."
The hosts opened the scoring at the 6:14 mark of the first period. The puck sat loose in the crease amid a scramble in front and Upshall took several swipes at it before he finally pushed it over the goal line from the right post.
Crombeen's first goal of the game and 11th of the season brought the Blues even at the 11-minute mark. Crombeen held control inside the right circle and fired a wrist shot that hit Bryzgalov and barely trickled over the goal line.
Winchester's 13th goal only 17 seconds into the middle session made it 2-1.
At the 8:13 mark of the second, Tkachuk gave the Blues a two-goal edge. Bryzgalov committed a costly turnover deep in the St. Louis offensive zone and the puck ended up on the stick of Tkachuk, who drifted toward to the left side and waited out Bryzgalov before he lit the lamp with a high wrist shot from a sharp angle near the goal line below the left circle.
The victory was essentially sealed with 14 seconds remaining before the second intermission when Crombeen tallied again on a wrist shot. This time, he accepted a pass from Alexander Steen, worked his way through the slot and beat Bryzgalov with a wrister at 19:46.
"We showed a lot more composure (later in the game) and managed the puck better," said Blues head coach Andy Murray.
Perron's breakaway goal in the final frame capped the scoring.
The loss halted Phoenix's four-game home win streak. The Coyotes are now 22-15-3 at home this season...The teams finished a combined 0-for-5 on the power play, with the Coyotes gaining three of the five chances...Jay McClement posted two assists.
04/08 01:46:10 ET