Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

United, Blues Stand in Overtime after Pearson's Last-Second Goal

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

United, Blues Stand in Overtime after Pearson's Last-Second Goal

Article excerpt

After a stunning 4-3 Blues victory over the Blackhawks on Thursday night, winger Rob Pearson savored the sweet taste of his payback.

During a first-period scrum, Blackhawks goaltender Ed Belfour had whacked him on the back of his head with his stick. Pearson was tied up at the time, trying to resist the temptation to punch Jeremy Roenick on his fractured jaw.

"For a goaltender to do that, it's a cheap shot," Pearson said. "It wasn't necessary."

So imagine Pearson's glee when his last-second shot skipped past Belfour to save the Blues from a 3-2 loss. His goal - scored as the extra attacker with .6 of a second left in regulation time - tied the game 3-3.

"It's a great feeling to tie the game on him," Pearson said. "It's like, `Back at you!' "

Then Brian Noonan delivered the knockout blow 3 minutes 14 seconds into overtime. He reached behind Belfour to ram home an Al MacInnis shot that squirted between the goaltender's pads. The crowd of 22,609 at the United Center was aghast.

"The game is never over until the buzzer sounds," said Noonan, a former Blackhawk. "When you have a guy like Mike (Keenan) behind the bench, he doesn't let you quit in the game."

The comeback put the Blues back on track after a sickening 7-1 home-ice loss to the hapless Ottawa Senators. "We didn't play well at all against Ottawa, everybody knows that," Keenan said. "It's how you respond to the situation that's important to us, not what happened before."

The short-handed Blues came out and battled hard. Due to injuries Keenan dressed eight defensemen, went with three makeshift lines and relied on a 15-skater rotation. "We didn't have a very good lineup in terms of numbers, but we had a good lineup in terms of quality," he said.

The Blackhawks didn't get their crack at Blues winger Geoff Courtnall, who enraged them by trying to behead their beloved Roenick with a shoulder check Feb. 8. Courtnall is sidelined with a broken thumb.

Blues enforcer Tony Twist didn't get to repay enforcer Bob Probert for sticking him on the head in their last meeting. It was too bad, because Probert actually seemed eager to answer Twist's challenge. …

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