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  •   Blues Stave Off Elimination

    Team Logo Associated Press
    Saturday, May 1, 1999; Page D3

    PHOENIX – Al MacInnis tied the game with a goal in the third period, and Scott Young scored 5:43 into overtime as the St. Louis Blues staved off playoff elimination with a 2-1 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday night.

    The Coyotes still hold a 3-2 lead, but the site of the first-round series switches to St. Louis for Game 6 on Sunday.

    The Blues will go in with momentum after outshooting Phoenix 42-27 and outskating the Coyotes throughout the second overtime game of the series. Phoenix won the first 4-3 and used that as the springboard to beat the Blues twice in St. Louis.

    Dallas Drake scored his fourth goal of the postseason on a Phoenix power play in the second period, but Grant Fuhr handled 26 other shots for his 88th playoff victory, which tied him with Billy Smith for second all-time.

    Colorado's still-active Patrick Roy leads with 101 wins.

    Young got the puck on a pass from Chris Pronger out of the neutral zone and fired a wrist shot from the circle that handcuffed beleaguered Nikolai Khabibulin, who had 34 of his 40 saves before MacInnis scored on a power play with 8:10 left in regulation.

    MacInnis, who also has six assists, scored his third goal in as many games in Phoenix. Two came on power plays, and the first came one second after a power play ended.

    The loss left the Coyotes hanging in first-round limbo.

    They have failed to reach the second round in seven tries since 1987, and this could be the second time in three years that they blew a 3-1 lead.

    They had a 3-1 edge on Anaheim two years ago, but lost the last three games to perpetuate their image as first-round losers.

    It was the fourth straight game decided by a single goal. Phoenix won the second game 4-3 on a goal by Shane Doan, and the momentum carried over as the Coyotes won two contests in St. Louis.

    Khabibulin, who had 27 saves in his 2-1 Game 4 victory three nights before, made several spectacular stops while the Coyotes killed the first five St. Louis power plays, holding the Blues scoreless in 10 straight advantages since near the end of Game 3.

    Meanwhile, the Coyotes had their sixth power play of the game when Ricard Persson grabbed Drake by the chin and threw him 2:50 into the extra period. But the Coyotes, who were 26th in power-play efficiency during the season, got only one shot off against the proficient St. Louis special team.

    MacInnis took three straight penalties in the second period, and the Coyotes capitalized on the last after he tripped Stephen Leach with 4:43 left.

    Teppo Numminen, who missed a goal when he hit the post on the previous Phoenix advantage, took another slap shot which Fuhr rejected. But Keith Tkachuk got a swat at the rebound, and Rick Tocchet got off a shot before that rebound came out to the side for Drake, who flipped the puck over the sprawling goalie with 3:35 to play in the period.

    Phoenix appeared to have a goal 6:22 into the game, when Tkachuk found the back of the net seconds before Michal Handzus knocked him headlong into Fuhr. But the goal was disallowed because replays showed the puck went off Tkachuk's right hand.

    Handzus was penalized for cross-checking, but the Coyotes failed on that one, too.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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