STOCKHOLM // Keith Tkachuk, the veteran winger, produced two goals and one assist to lead the St Louis Blues to a 5-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. "It's great to go home with two wins. I'm just happy to contribute," the 37-year-old said after the Blues had followed up Friday's 4-3 win over the Wings.
"They are the team you measure yourself against and they're the best team in the Western Conference so every time you beat them is a great win." Last season St Louis won only one of their six meetings with Detroit. Having been 2-0 and 3-2 down, St Louis rallied for the second night running. Wings, the Stanley Cup runners-up last season, made a flying start with a deflected goal by Swede Tomas Holmstrom half a minute into the game before Dan Cleary added to the tally at 2:08.
"We didn't start off very good but the score [after the opening period] could have been a lot worse. Our goalie [Ty Conklin] kept us in it," said Tkachuk. The winger scored for the first time in the 19th minute and set up Andy McDonald on a powerplay, five minutes later, for a backhand that brought St Louis level. The Swede Niklas Kronwall put Detroit ahead again with a slap shot but Brad Boyes pulled one back with a wrist shot with 33.24 on the clock. Thirteen seconds later a slap shot by Patrik Berglund handed St Louis the lead. Tkachuk then wrapped up victory with his second goal on a third-period powerplay after assists by Erik Johnson and Paul Kariya.
"It's a heavy loss and reminds us a lot of yesterday's game," said the Detroit captain Nicklas Lidstrom referring to his team's Friday loss. "It's frustrating because we were conducting most of the game but we have not yet reached the highest level that we can get to during 60 minutes." The Chicago Blackhawks enjoyed a 4-0 win against the Florida Panthers on the road in Helsinki. While Finland's Ville Koistinen impressed for Florida in his homeland on Friday, compatriot Antti Niemi was Chicago's hero this time, making 23 saves in his side's impressive shut-out.
The Stanley Cup champions Pittsburgh Penguins forced another gritty win as they came out on top 4-3 at the New York Islanders in a shoot-out. The Penguins had a hard-fought 3-2 victory over the New York Rangers a day earlier. The Rangers had a 5-2 victory at home to the Ottawa Senators, while Alexander Semin had two goals and an assist in the Washington Capitals' 6-4 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Colorado Avalanche beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 and the Boston Bruins outclassed the Carolina Hurricanes 7-2. Brian Gionta scored the crucial goal to give the Montreal Canadiens a 2-1 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. The Philadelphia Flyers made it two wins in two nights with a 5-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils, while three goals in the first period helped the San Jose Sharks to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.