Alexander Steen scored a short-handed, game-winning goal after Jonathan Quick gave the puck away to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Los Angeles Kings, 2-1, in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.
The Kings and Blues had played a long, hard-fought Game 1 completely befitting of NHL playoff drama, with the Kings tying it on Justin Williams' goal in the final minute of regulation. After a slow start, the Kings got better as the game wore on and had the better run of play in overtime.
Nearly 13 minutes into overtime, the Kings' increasing pressure led to a four-minute power play when Kevin Shattenkirk high-sticked Dustin Penner behind the Blues goal. Everything was set up for the Kings to win.
But then the Blues got another clear, Quick got cute with it behind the Kings net, Steen didn't fall for Quick's fake pass, and Steen stole the puck and wrapped it around into the vacated net:
Game 1 goes to the Blues after a cruel ending for Quick, who made outstanding saves throughout to give the Kings a chance to win.
Before the game, we considered three questions. We revisit them here:
1. Will the Blues manage to hold the Kings to less than four goals?
They went 59:28 keeping them to less than one, actually.
2. How effective will T.J. Oshie be in Game 1?
Coming back from ankle surgery and replacing rookie Vladimir Tarasenko in the lineup, Oshie was mostly a non-factor. Quiet game for him. Alexander Steen though? He was effective.
3. How important will special teams be?
Ironically, very important but in an unexpected way. The power play got the Blues their only goal in regulation, but it was Jonathan Quick's work on the penalty kill that kept them from getting the insurance goal that would have secured a victory in regulation.
It was the Kings' overly timid power play that failed them in overtime, as Steen's goal was preceded by multiple Blues clearances that kept the Kings from setting up.
All told, it was a fair result. The Blues had outplayed the Kings through regulation and outshot the Kings 42-29 over the course of the game. They set a very physical tone early on, led by their fourth line and Ryan Reaves' hunt for hits.
The Blues certainly had the advantage in power plays with five to the Kings' three opportunities, but it would be tough to argue they didn't earn at least most of that. They dominated the first period, had the better of play in the second, and outshot the Kings at even-strength throughout.
Game 2 is Thursday in St. Louis. If it's anything like Game 1, it will be tough, nail-biting ... and marked by a surprise ending.