Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Lose Finale to Replacement Wings

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Blues Lose Finale to Replacement Wings

Article excerpt

The stars were twinkling for the Blues' regular-season finale Wednesday night at Kiel Center.

But few of them belonged to the Detroit Red Wings.

With first place overall in the National Hockey League wrapped up, the Wings chartered in at lunchtime with barely half their varsity roster.

Still, the Wings managed to beat the Blues 3-2 before 20,228 fans at Kiel Center.

The Blues finished fourth overall in the NHL at 28-15-5 for 61 points.

They open the playoffs against Vancouver on Sunday at Kiel. The time of the game has yet to be determined.

"It was pretty lethargic on our behalf," Blues coach Mike Keenan said. "They had more legs than we did, which is a byproduct of our schedule."

Blues winger Brett Hull came up empty on five shots and stalled at 29 goals, ending a seven-year streak of 30 or more.

"We had five games in eight nights," Hull said, "and a super-long flight (from Anaheim, Calif.) yesterday.

"It was a tough game to get going in. Glenn Anderson is a physical specimen, and he said he just didn't have it."

With the expected Blues-Wings showdown downgraded to a letdown, it was up to Hollywood to glitz up the proceedings.

Actor John Goodman, the pride of Affton and the "Roseanne" sitcom, dropped the ceremonial first puck. He wore a No. 99 Blues sweater.

The teams traded power-play goals in the first period: Ian Laperriere for the Blues and ruffian Darren McCarty for the Wings.

At the first intermission, it was time for Zamboni-skiing with the Hanson brothers of "Slapshot" movie fame.

Jeff and Steve Carlson and cousin Dave Hanson, in full Charleston Chiefs regalia, performed while being towed on skates.

Steve Yzerman, Sergei Fedorov, Paul Coffey, Ray Sheppard and Vladimir Konstantinov, among others, missed this extravaganza. Wings coach Scotty Bowman left them in Detroit for the meaningless trip.

The contest meant something for the Blues. …

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