Doug Gilmour set up five goals, including three by Greg Paslawski, tonight to power the St. Louis Blues to a 6-3 victory over the Minnesota North Stars in the deciding fifth game of their NHL Norris Division semifinal series.
The Blues finished two points behind the second-place North Stars during the regular season, lost to them in the first round the past two years, and tonight spotted them the first two goals. But St. Louis rallied with four straight goals and will open the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs at home Friday against Toronto.
Paslawski had two assists besides his hat trick. Winning goalie Greg Millen made 35 saves.
Gilmour set up Lee Norwood at 10:18 and Paslawski at 11:46 of the first period, Paslawski 38 seconds into the second and Eddy Beers at 3:50 of the third for a 4-2 lead. Ron Wilson's second goal of the game made it 4-3. Gilmour fed Paslawski for the clincher with 3:22 left.
Blues Coach Jacques Demers confirmed a newspaper report that he threw pennies onto the ice during Thursday's Game 2.
Demers said he wanted to give his tired penalty-killers a little extra time to rest so, on two occasions during play stoppages, he tossed pennies onto the ice. The Blues eventually lost the game, 6-2.
"They were dropped in front of the bench," Demers told the Associated Press. "There were five pennies. It gave us a little extra time. I just happened to be an honest person who didn't deny it. I won't do it again."