St. Louis at Florida

Blues edge Panthers on D'Agostini's late goal in third

CBSSports.com wire reports
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SUNRISE, Fla. -- The St. Louis Blues think they have what it takes to make a run at the playoffs in the second half of the season.

Matt D'Agostini scored the tiebreaking goal with four minutes left and St. Louis beat the Florida Panthers 2-1 on Tuesday.

David Backes also scored and Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves for the Blues, who snapped a four-game road losing streak.

"This is the type of performance we needed coming off a bit of a layoff," coach Davis Payne said. "We're healthy and ready to go."

Dennis Wideman scored for Florida and Tomas Vokoun stopped 26 shots.

The Blues scored the go-ahead goal at 16:00 of the third period. Florida turned the puck over at the blue line, giving St. Louis a 3-on-1 as it came down the ice. D'Agostini's wrister went high into the net to make it 2-1.

"We've been working hard but just not getting the outcome we wanted," D'Agostini said. "We keep working and getting pucks deep and eventually that's going to take a toll on their defense. I think we played a pretty solid game all around."

The Blues tied it at 1 with a minute left in the second.

The Panthers turned the puck over at their own blue line and Brad Boyes grabbed it and passed to Andy McDonald along the side boards. McDonald brought the puck through the left circle toward the net, then passed it to Backes in front, who easily beat Vokoun with a wrist shot for his 18th goal of the season.

Backes scored for the fourth time in seven games.

The Blues had lost 11 of 14 coming in.

"We finally put together a full 60 minutes and got rewarded for it," Backes said. "It took us a while but our goalie is good enough to keep us in games when we haven't been up to snuff."

In Florida's last 21 games, 18 have been decided by one goal.

"It's exhausting on everybody because you're playing 60-plus minutes right to the end," Panthers coach Peter DeBoer said. "We've got to find a way to win these one-goal games."

Florida took a 1-0 lead on a 5-on-3 power play in the first. Steven Weiss fed the puck to Wideman above the left circle and his one-timer beat Halak at 6:45.

The Panthers nearly went up by two goals at 8:11 of the second but a shot by David Booth hit the left post.

"We just didn't execute well," Vokoun said. "It's hard to score one goal and expect to win."

The Blues are hoping to build some momentum going forward.

"It's a long season. We need to make sure we go game by game," Halak said. "We need to pick up points in every game if we want to make the playoffs."

Notes

  • Florida LW Cory Stillman sustained an upper-body injury in practice Monday.
  • The Panthers recalled RW Michal Repik from Rochester of the AHL. Repik had played in eight games for the Panthers this season, recording one goal and one assist.
  • Vokoun had won his last nine games (eight starts) against St. Louis.
  • Halak returned after missing two games with an upper-body injury. His previous start was Jan. 24 against Colorado.
  • Halak is 6-1-0 against the Panthers.
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Matt D'Agostini (36) wrists one past Tomas Vokoun for the eventual winner with four minutes remaining. (AP)
Matt D'Agostini (36) wrists one past Tomas Vokoun for the eventual winner with four minutes remaining. (AP)

Scoreboard
St. Louis  (24-20-8) «0112
Florida (23-24-6)1001
Three Stars
M. D'Agostini
STL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
J. Halak
STL


Saves: 30
Save Pct.: .968
D. Backes
STL


Goals: 1
Assist(s): 0
Scoring Summary
1ST PERIOD
06:45Power Play - Dennis Wideman (8), Slap Shot. Assist: Weiss, Frolik
2ND PERIOD
19:00 - David Backes (18), Wrist Shot. Assist: McDonald, Boyes
3RD PERIOD
16:00 - Matt D'Agostini (12), Wrist Shot. Assist: Sobotka, Jackman
Penalty Summary
1ST PERIOD
05:32Winchester, 2 min, Tripping
05:51Polak, 2 min, Delay of Game - Puck Over Glass
10:41Wideman, 2 min, Holding the Stick
13:06D'Agostini, 2 min, Bench - Too Many Men on the Ice
15:36Garrison, 2 min, Holding
20:00Allen, 5 min, Fighting
20:00Crombeen, 5 min, Fighting
2ND PERIOD
04:07Frolik, 2 min, Boarding
04:28Sobotka, 2 min, High-Sticking
07:02Sobotka, 2 min, Roughing
19:31Wideman, 2 min, Interference
3RD PERIOD
02:16Bernier, 2 min, High-Sticking
Shots On Goal
 123T
STL714728
FLA1111931
Goalies
GoalieMINSSGA
Jaroslav Halak59:40301
Tomas Vokoun58:32262
Game Information
Attendance - 12228
Referees - Mike Leggo, Kyle Rehman
Linesmen - Tony Sericolo, Bryan Pancich
 
Other Games
Colu 4 Final
Pitt 1
Car 2 Final
OT
NJ 3
Tor 5 Final
NYI 3
SJ 2 Final
Wash 0
Buf 7 Final
TB 4