ST. LOUIS — Alex Steen caught Jonathan Quick napping behind the net and scored his second goal of the game short-handed to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night.
Steen stole the puck from the unsuspecting goalie and scored unassisted on a backhander at 13:26 of overtime less than a minute after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk was whistled for a double-minor high sticking when he cut Dustin Penner.
Steen also scored on a power play in the first period for the Blues, who ended an eight-game losing streak against the team that swept them in the second round last spring.
Quick made 35 saves in regulation, keeping the Kings in it for Justin Williams' tying goal with 31.6 seconds left in regulation.
Before Steen's shocker, the Kings had been on a roll, outshooting the Blues 7-0 after coach Darryl Sutter called a timeout.
The Kings outscored the Blues 15-6 in the playoffs last season and 14-7 in three regular-season meetings. But they were thoroughly outplayed most of the way in Game 1, rescued time and time again by Quick including a few saves early on that he wasn't sure he'd made judging by the backward glances.
Williams' 16th career playoff goal tied it at 1, not long after Quick was pulled for an extra attacker. Brian Elliot, who had three shutouts during the Blues' 12-3 surge to finish the regular season, didn't hug the post and missed with the glove on Williams' innocent-appearing shot from the right face-off circle.
The Blues also got the first goal in the 2012 series opener when David Backes scored midway through the first period. The Kings tied it less than eight minutes later and never trailed the rest of the way against the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Steen's second career playoff goal made the Kings pay for a too many men on the ice call. Shattenkirk made the play, retrieving the puck near the blue line and firing a slap shot that resulted in a big rebound and the lead at 9:05.
The Blues were 0 for 17 on the power play in last year's series and 2 for 11 this season.
The Kings had a handful of chances to tie it on the power play in the waning seconds of the first. Elliott made two sprawling saves and got his glove on a backhander by Jeff Carter that hit the right goal post near the buzzer.
During the Kings' second-round sweep of St. Louis last spring, Elliott allowed 13 goals on 89 shots for an .854 save percentage. Blues Ken Hitchcock revealed before this series that Elliott had been battling an inner-ear infection since the end of the Blues' first-round series win over the Sharks.