(The Sports Xchange) - The St. Louis Blues advanced to the Western Conference finals for the first time since 2001 after beating Dallas 6-1 in Game 7 of their semi-final series at American Airlines Center on Wednesday.
Troy Brouwer, Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny each had three points and Brian Elliott stopped 31 of 32 shots for the Blues, who also got a goal and an assist each from David Backes and Patrik Berglund and two assists from Jori Lehtera.
St. Louis will face the winner of Game 7 between San Jose and Nashville on Thursday, with the conference finals starting on Saturday.
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock is now 5-2 in Game 7s while Stars coach Lindy Ruff is 0-4.
Patrick Eaves broke the shutout 5:05 into the third with his third goal of the playoffs. Eaves scored on an easy tip-in at the near post after Alex Goligoski’s slap shot from the right circle deflected off Joel Edmundson.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored an empty-net goal with 4:40 remaining to make it 6-1.
Antti Niemi stopped eight of 10 shots in relief of Kari Lehtonen, who stopped just five of eight shots.
Fabbri scored a power-play goal 5:23 into the first period off a rebound to give the Blues an early 1-0 lead.
Lehtonen stopped the initial shot by Brouwer with a pad save, but Fabbri popped in the rebound for his third goal of the playoffs.
Fabbri is the youngest player in Blues history to score in a Game 7.
St. Louis were 52 seconds into a power play resulting from a hooking call on Goligoski against Tarasenko at 4:31 of the first period.
Dallas caught a break late in the first period when an apparent goal by Tarasenko 2:21 before the first intermission was waived off. Tarasenko scored from the edge of the left circle with a shot that deflected off the stick of Stars defenseman John Klingberg.
Ruff used a coach’s challenge asserting that Tarasenko was offside. A replay showed Tarasenko’s left skate was just offside.
However, the Blues scored twice in the final 1:38 of the first period to lead 3-0 after 20 minutes. Stastny sent a wrist shot from the right of the Dallas goal through Lehtonen with 1:38 remaining.
Then Berglund gave the visitors a three-goal edge with his fourth goal of the playoffs with four seconds remaining in the first period. Berglund’s wrist shot from the left point traveled in under Lehtonen’s blocker.
Niemi replaced Lehtonen in goal to start the second period.
Backes made it 4-0 in the second with his sixth goal of the playoffs. Berglund set Backes up beautifully by sending the puck just over the Dallas blue line from inside the neutral zone.
Backes received it just inside the Dallas zone and beat Niemi far post with a wrist shot from the right circle.
Brouwer made it 5-0 with his fifth goal of the playoffs with 5:54 remaining in the second period. Brouwer’s wrist shot from near the far post off the rush capped a well-executed 2-on-1 sequence by the Blues.
Editing by Peter Rutherford