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St. Louis not blue over loss

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  • St. Louis not blue over loss

    In the seconds before Sharks right wing Niko Dimitrakos sent the HP Pavilion crowd home happy, St. Louis Blues rookie defenseman Christian Backman thought the only Shark he had to worry about was center Vincent Damphousse.

    ``It was just a battle for the puck with one guy,'' said Backman, describing how the final play developed. ``I tried to get a step up on him and we got tied up and the puck just went forward a little bit.''

    That was enough for Dimitrakos, though Backman was hard-pressed to describe what happened next. ``I had my back to the play so I don't really know the situation.''

    Goalie Chris Osgood ended up with a better view and, though he hadn't yet reviewed tapes of the play, indicated there was some comfort to be taken by the fact the game ended on a strong play by the Sharks rather than a weak one by the Blues.

    ``He actually made a real nice play,'' Osgood said of Dimitrakos' goal. ``Sometimes you say, `Oh, we could have done something different,' but I don't see how we really could have.''

    Overall, the Blues took the loss in stride. They talked reassuringly, noting that they had withstood an early onslaught by the Sharks and played a strong game on the road. They pointed out that momentum can change frequently in a seven-game series.

    ``It's a shame, but it's going to be a long series,'' predicted Blues center Doug Weight. ``We're unhappy, but we'll move on. We'll be back on Saturday and expect to take one out of here.''

    Blues Coach Mike Kitchen said the Blues were prepared for the Sharks' fast start, but even so, ``maybe there was a little nervous energy in the room and that carried out onto the ice.''

    And he credited the Sharks with slowing down any momentum the Blues may have been building in the second period during St. Louis power plays.

    ``They do a pretty good job on the penalty kill,'' Kitchen said. ``They're No. 1 at home and there's a reason for that.

    ``They're very responsible. They don't give you a lot of time, their forwards come out on the defense quickly and they've got some big defensemen that block you out on those rebounds.''

    Weight credited Osgood and Sharks goalie Evgeni Nabokov for keeping their teams in the game.

    For the first 10 minutes, he said, Osgood ``was critical. He was huge. Then in the second period, Nabokov made some unbelievable saves as well. It was back and forth, some good defensive hockey and exactly what we expected.''

    Osgood said he approaches every game in this series as if it's going to be a tight one ``so I have to stay focused.''

    And he said he was hoping to do more in the opening 10 minutes than just keep the puck out of the net.

    ``I was trying to slow things down to make sure our guys got proper line changes and we had fresh guys out there.''

    Contact David Pollak at [email protected] or (408) 920-5940.


    Mr. G

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