Time to admit the Stars are Cup Contenders

Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk tied it at 1 with 8:28 left in the third period with a shot from the top of the left circle after Dallas failed to clear the puck out of the zone.

After having any confidence that may have accompanied their 4-1 regular-season record against the Dallas Stars shattered on Friday night when they lost 2-1 to Dallas, the St. Louis Blues will trudge on and attempt to collect their first win in a second-round playoff series since May 7, 2002.

That's the time that elapsed between a controversial penalty against Antoine Roussel and David Backes' overtime goal on the ensuring power play that gave the Blues a 4-3 win. They dominated early and kept the Blues to zero shots through the first three minutes.

SAN JOSE, Calif. - Joe Pavelski's first goal of the series and sixth of the playoffs gave San Jose a 2-0 lead in its best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series that resumes with Game 3 in Nashville on Tuesday.

The series is tied at one game apiece, with Game 3 scheduled for today in Pittsburgh.

That was enough for Stars coach Lindy Ruff to pull Lehtonen in favor of Antti Niemi, who had 19 saves before the overtime goal.

Elliott hit in mask on Spezza shot: Stars center Jason Spezza has dented the cage on two goalie masks in the playoffs. Niemi stopped three shots in that two-minute span. Then after a fortuitous bounce off some scrambling defenders, Benn was left alone in front and buried the shot for the equalizer with 2:36 left in the third. So it shouldn't have come as any surprise to the Predators that Ward delivered in the third period in his first postseason...

Washington may have ended up with the Presidents' Trophy, but Dallas paced the National Hockey League with 265 goals. After getting a 3-1 lead, the Blues started sitting back and the Stars made them pay for it by forcing overtime.

It took 17 seconds to change the trajectory of Sunday's Game 2 between the Stars and Blues and their second-round playoff series.

The Blues' three first-period goals came on just five shots against Kari Lehtonen.

The Stars led only 3 1/2 minutes into the game when Benn passed from behind the net to Goligoski for a one-timer.

While the Blues did not score in the middle frame, they at least did not allow a goal. So far the Stars haven't scored on the power play, but I wouldn't play with that fire too long. F Craig Smith (lower body) missed his third game of the playoffs and Eric Nystrom got the nod in his place.

His head shaved but for a stubbly growth roughly matching that of his chin, he is almost unrecognizable from the strapping, wavy-haired captain of playoffs past, the one member of the St. Louis Blues who can nearly match head coach Ken Hitchcock sound bite for sound bite. St. Louis C Steve Ott, the former Star, was a scratch.

Pavelski has tallied a point in all but one game this postseason and scored a goal in five of seven postseason games. This strategy wasn't an order from on high or the result of a team that collectively forgot how ineffective a strategy that was against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 6 of the first round.

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