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Mrazek leads Red Wings past Blues in NHL debut

Thursday, February 7, 2013 | 11:34 p.m. CST
St. Louis Blues' Vladimir shoots just wide of Detroit Red Wings goalie Petr Mrazek during the second period of a game on Thursday in St. Louis. The Blues fell to the Red Wings, 5-1.

ST. LOUIS — Petr Mrazek showed the composure of a seasoned veteran.

The 20-year-old goalie made 26 saves in his NHL debut, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night.

Detroit halted a two-game skid with its second win in three tries against St. Louis this season.

The Blues, who beat Detroit 6-0 on Jan. 19, dropped their third in a row. They have lost three successive games in regulation for the first time since Feb. 27 to March 5, 2011.

Daniel Cleary and Jakub Kindl scored first-period goals for the Red Wings, who beat St. Louis 5-3 in Detroit on Friday. Cory Emmerton and Damien Brunner added second-period goals 91 seconds apart.

Mrazek, recalled from Grand Rapids on Monday, stopped the first 14 shots he faced. He used a cool, calm demeanor to stymie the Blues down the stretch, making 10 saves in the final period.

"I'm never nervous. I enjoyed every minute on the ice," Mrazek said. "It was unbelievable, like a dream."

Jimmy Howard, the team's No. 1 goalie, was given the night off after starting the first nine games of the season.

Mrazek came through with an impressive effort, stopping the final 11 shots by the Blues.

"He never panicked whatsoever," Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said. "I thought he was square to the puck all night long."

Mrazek allowed a second-period goal to Alex Pietrangelo, but was perfect the rest of the way.

"When you're a kid you're always dreaming about the NHL," he said. "Now it's happened and I am so happy. (I've) got the puck and I will keep it forever."

Detroit jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first 11:50. Cleary scored on the rebound of a shot by Tomas Tatar at 5:14 of the first period. Kindl then snapped a wrist shot past Brian Elliott.

Elliott, who fell to 3-4-0, was pulled from Tuesday's 6-1 loss to Nashville after giving up four goals on 11 shots.

Pietrangelo cut the deficit to 2-1 with a power-play goal. It was the Blues' seventh power-play goal against Detroit this season.

Detroit answered 1:48 later on a goal by Emmerton. Brunner then pushed the lead to 4-1 with his fifth goal of the season.

Valtteri Filppula added an unassisted goal in the third, giving the Red Wings five different goal scorers.

"Anytime you get depth in scoring, it's a positive thing," Detroit coach Mike Babcock said. "I thought our discipline was pretty good. We responded and we really pushed."

Drew Miller had two assists for the Red Wings.

St. Louis won six of its first seven games before dropping three in a row. The Blues have lost their last two home games by a combined 11-2.

"When you have players (playing) under the bar, it's tough to win hockey games," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We're cheating all over the ice. Our team game is not good right now."

The struggling Elliott has given up nine goals on 40 shots in his last two games.

"Goals are going to go in. The best goaltenders in the world let in goals," he said. "So you can't be too hard on yourself. We'll figure it out. It's just a matter of time."


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