Blues 2, Canucks 2
VANCOUVER (AP) _ A fluke goal in the third period by rookie Jocelyn Lemieux allowed the St. Louis Blues to gain a 2-2 tie with the Vancouver Canucks in a defense-tough NHL game Friday night.
Lemieux’s goal at 7:41 of the third came on a power play. The left wing managed to jar the puck loose from the glove of Vancouver goaltender Frank Caprice and the tying marker dribbled into the net.
The Canucks had taken a 2-1 lead at 4:53 of the third period on the first NHL goal by left wing Jean LeBlanc, recalled from the minors to replace the injured Tony Tanti.
Herb Ragan scored the other St. Louis goal in the first period and Moe Lemay tied it for the Canucks in the second.
Neither team could manage a shot on goal during the five-minute overtime session, although the Canucks hemmed the Blues in the St. Louis zone for most of the extra time.
Vancouver fired 27 shots on St. Louis netminder Greg Millen and the Blues had 26 on Caprice.
The tie extended Vancouver’s unbeaten string to three games, but marked the fifth time this season the Canucks have been unable to put together a three- game winnning streak.
″It’s a great way to break in,″ LeBlanc said of his first NHL goal. ″I was just lucky to be in position to finish off a fine play by my linemates.″
LeBlanc played a strong two-way game as an emergency replacement for the injured Tony Tanti at left wing after travelling most of the day from Fredericton.
″I feel a lot more comfortable now than I did in training camp,″ said LeBlanc. ″The pro game is a little quicker and a lot more physical than in college last year.″
The ragged first period featured sloppy passing and numerous offsides as both teams looked for the quick break which wasn’t there.
Raglan scored the only goal of the period after some determined forechecking by Gino Cavallini and Cliff Ronning. Raglan used a quick backhand shot for his fifth goal of the season at 16:51.
Caprice made two difficult saves in the opening period, stopping Doug Gilmour on a breakaway and Mark Hunter at the side of the net during a St. Louis power play after a poor clearing effort by Canuck defenseman Michel Petit.
The second period was even slower than the first as the Blues attempted to sit on their one-goal lead and the Canucks were unable to apply much forechecking pressure.
An error by St. Louis defenseman Jim Pavese allowed Vancouver to tie the score late in the second. Pavese was trapped at the far blue line and the Canucks broke away, two-on-one. Lemay converted a pass from David Bruce for his seventh goal at 18:58.
Millen had some tricky shots to handle in the second. He made a skate save on LeBlanc early in the period and later got his leg pad on a dangerous wrist shot by Petri Skriko.
LeBlanc, the Canadian university player of the year last season at New Brunswich, was recalled from the Fredericton Express of the American Hockey League to replace Tanti, sidelined with a finger injury after jamming it in ar door.
The Canucks went ahead on LeBlanc’s goal early in the third when he finished off a sparkling passing play with Patrik Sundstrom and Rich Sutter, deflecting home a goalmouth pass.
Lemieux’s tying goal came after a shoot-in by Nattress which Caprice tried to smother in the crease, only to have the pesky Lemieux poke the puck free for the tying goal.
Caprice forced the game into overtime with an alert save on Mark Hunter late in the third after a strong individual effort by Hunter in the Vancouver zone.