ST. LOUIS (AP) - Carlo Colaiacovo's perfect timing gave the St. Louis Blues one shot at a victory.
Colaiacovo was in the right place at the right time, and the Blues defenseman made no mistake with a one-timer, scoring 1:47 into overtime to give the Blues a 2-1 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday night.
Colaiacovo followed up Alex Steen's backhand attempt and fired a slap shot over the left shoulder of goalie Brian Boucher to give the Blues a season-opening win.
``You hope for an opportunity like that throughout the game,' Colaiacovo said of his third career goal against the Flyers. ``Luckily, I just found myself in the right spot at the right time. Thankfully, it went in. Huge goal for us, huge win for us.'
Boucher called it a busted play that went well for the Blues.
``I didn't even see it,' Boucher said. ``I think we turned it over and then the puck went in front and then it just went right to him. I could see the guy winding up, but they had a couple guys in front. I just tried to take position. He blew it by me.'
Steen forced a turnover in the Philadelphia zone, then curled around Boucher and fired off a backhand shot. The puck fell into the slot to an onrushing Colaiacovo, who was about to skate off the ice before reading the play.
``After mine got blocked, you turn around and I saw Carlo coming down with a full head of steam,' Steen said. ``It looked like a good opportunity. I was just happy to see the puck go in.'
The Blues also got a goal from Brad Boyes. Steen had two assists, and Jaroslav Halak stopped 29 shots in his St. Louis debut.
``I got a few (shots) after a while, but I was still in the game. I was trying to focus,' said Halak, traded to the Blues by Montreal over the summer. ``I felt comfortable out there and it showed at the end of the game.
``It's great to win that first game.'
The Flyers, who opened their season with a victory in Pittsburgh on Thursday, got a goal from Danny Briere - his second in two games. Boucher stopped 23 shots in the loss.
``They came out hard. They're a young group and energetic,' Boucher said of the Blues. ``It's their home opener, they've got a new goalie. Everyone starts out with great enthusiasm at the start and they certainly came out with that.'
The Blues took the lead in a penalty-filled opening period when Boyes scored a power-play goal at 15:48. Each team had a two-man advantage in the period, but only the Blues cashed in on theirs as Boyes deflected home a one-timer from Erik Johnson.
The teams combined for 25 penalties and 64 minutes of penalty time. The Flyers were 0 for 5 on the power play. The Blues finished 1 for 10.
``There were a lot of penalties,' Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk said. ``You see that a lot earlier in the year just because the refs got the memo that (the league) wants to crack down. Obviously, you still have to find a way to win.'
Halak preserved the lead with a couple of point-blank stops in the waning seconds of the opening period.
Halak thwarted Mike Richards on a short-handed attempt in the second period, kicking out his right pad during a 2-on-1 rush early in the period, in which the Blues outshot Philadelphia 11-6.
``I think it was the second period where we were just pushing them down and holding them down in their end,' Steen said. ``In the third, for whatever reason, we got pushed back a little bit.'
The Flyers tied it when Briere knocked in a rebound high over Halak's glove after the goalie initially stopped Matt Carle's shot from the high slot 2:15 into the third period.
Briere nearly won it for the Flyers in overtime, but his shot from the slot hit the crossbar with 3:31 left.
``I thought we played a good game,' Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said. ``The more the game went on the better we played.'
NOTES: Flyers D Chris Pronger (right knee) missed his second straight game. Pronger played in 598 games over nine seasons with St. Louis (1995-2004). ... The Blues honored Hall of Famer Brett Hull with a pregame ceremony in which they unveiled a statue of Hull to go alongside Hall of Famers Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis. ... Flyers G Michael Leighton will undergo surgery on Monday to repair a herniated disk in his back. He will miss 6-to-8 weeks. ... Flyers F Scott Hartnell received an automatic ejection after instigating a fight with Blues F Brad Winchester. ... Blues F Cam Janssen (upper body) took an inadvertent elbow from Winchester late in the second period and didn't return.
The Associated Press News Service
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