Kansas City scored first, 2:24 into Friday's game in the Salt Palace.
"Kinda woke us up," said Eagle Martin Simard, who scored his fourth and fifth goals since returning to the lineup Wednesday night from a hand injury.Simard's return seems to have woke the Eagles up, too.
"The biggest thing Martin Simard adds is emotion. His attitude permeates the team," says Eagle Coach Bob Francis.
The Eagles emerged from a four-game slumber Friday, whipping the independent Blades 6-1, scoring three times in the first and three in the third periods.
"The intensity was there for 18 players," observed Simard.
Simard - who'd scored three goals Wednesday - had two goals and an assist. "Just hard work and luck," said Simard. "I can do those shots 15 times and none would go in."
Simard's French Canadian buddy and long-time linemate Marc Bureau added two goals and two assists in his best outing of the season, playing with Simard and Rich Chernomaz.
Bureau, who seemed certain to make the Calgary Flames' roster but didn't this fall, admitted he'd been in a funk about it until recently deciding to renew his efforts. "A better attitude," Bureau explained.
"Marc's been coming," said Francis. "He's a dominating guy. And Simmer helps everyone."
Simard and Bureau each started with an even-strength goal and progressed to scoring short-handed goals on the same penalty-killing shift in the third.
Simard's first goal was deemed the biggest of the night by Francis.
Goalie Wayne Cowley had just made an exceptional save during a Kansas City 3-on-2 break-in, and Chernomaz and Simard went the other way, Chernomaz slipping the puck from the sideboards to Simard in the slot for a half-speed shot at 10:51 of the first period.
That made it 3-1 for the Eagles and gave them operating room.
Kansas City's Lee Giffin had scored 2:24 into the game, but Scott McCrady and Bryan Deasley brought the Eagles back at 4:28 and 10:09.
"We played in spurts," said Blades' Coach Doug Soetaert, who considers scoring to be Kansas City's main problem. "I don't know if it's chemistry or guys not bearing down. You tell me. I got no idea. We've had chances," Soetaert said.
The Eagles had some of those same troubles but seem on the mend. "A lot of positive signs," said Francis, noting the defense making the quick-but-safe plays, the forwards interfering enough to allow that, good 5-on-5 play and, obviously, good special-teams work.
And Cowley had his best game since a season-opening 2-0 shutout.
Cowley said it was the team in front of him that made the difference. "We'd been sitting back waiting for teams to come to us," he said. The Eagles noticed their defense and forwards getting too far apart in past games and took steps to close the gaps. That helped, Cowley said. He had few rebound shots, though that's how Giffin scored.
"Maybe I can build on tonight," said Cowley.
"A big win like this," said Bureau, "you just look forward to another game. And we can't lose all these games at home."
The 2-10 Blades return to the Palace tonight for a 7 o'clock meeting with the 4-7-1 Eagles.