Eakin's overtime goal helps Stars even NHL series with Blues

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Los Angeles (AFP)

Cody Eakin scored just under three minutes into overtime as the Dallas Stars evened their second round Western Conference series at two games each with a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues.

The Stars, who were blown out in game three of the best-of-seven series, responded with a spirited performance in game four in front of a crowd of 19,700 at St. Louis' Scottrade Center arena.

"We were embarrassed," Dallas coach Lindy Ruff said. "I said it's time for us to man up. And I thought we did. I thought our leaders were our leaders, and we had some young guys who played extremely well."

Game five is Saturday in Dallas.

Patrick Sharp fed a pass to Eakin who beat goalie Brian Elliott 2:58 into the extra session for his first goal of the playoffs. The Stars had lost their first two overtime playoff contests, including the second game of this NHL series.

"I just had a little bit of room and found a little hole," Eakin said. "It just opened up."

The game didn't start all that well for Dallas as Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko scored a breakaway goal midway through the first period.

St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said despite getting the early lead his team sat back and didn't play aggressively enough.

"We didn't bury them when we had the chances in the first period when we had all the odd-man rushes and breakaways," Hitchcock said. "Then we let them off the mat with those two quick goals. We didn't extend the 1-0 lead."

The Blues tied the game 2-2 on their own power-play goal, on a four-on-three advantage, when Paul Stastny deflected a pass from Tarasenko past goaltender Kari Lehtonen at 13:06 of the second period.

Neither coach was surprised that the game went to overtime.

"It's two awful good teams going at it," Hitchcock said.

Dallas captain Jamie Benn said this was the most important game of the season for the Stars, who did not want to go back home trailing in the series three games to one.

"Now we've got a whole new series," Benn said.