Tim Cheveldae was first to admit his goaltending wasn't picture perfect, but it sure was effective.

Cheveldae, starting in his first NHL playoff game, made 37 saves and Steve Yzerman recorded his second career playoff hat trick Thursday night, leading the Detroit Red Wings to a 6-3 triumph over the St. Louis Blues in the opening game of their Norris Division semifinal."I was fortunate to keep the puck out of the net," Cheveldae said. "A couple of times I was scrambling like a fish, throwing my glove out trying to make a save."

The victory gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead with Game 2 of the best-of-seven series set for Saturday night in St. Louis.

In the second period, the Blues blasted away at Cheveldae. He stopped seven shots in the first three minutes of the period and 10 in the first five to frustrate both the Blues and their goaltender, Vincent Riendeau.

"That's the worst nightmare of goaltender," said Riendeau.

Yzerman scored twice in the second period and converted a two-on-one break with 5:05 remaining in the third period to complete his hat trick. Yzerman scored three goals in an April 6, 1989 playoff game against Chicago.

North Stars 4, Blackhawks 3 OT

At Chicago, Brian Propp scored a power-play goal at 4:14 of overtime to lift the North Stars in the opening game of their best-of-seven Norris Division playoff series. Neal Broten's second goal of the game with 13:38 remaining in regulation tied it 3-3 for Minnesota. The North Stars outshot the Blackhawks 34-23 for the game.Game 2 is Saturday night in Chicago.

Oilers 3, Flames 1

At Calgary, Alberta, Petr Klima and Esa Tikkanen each scored a goal and added an assist and Grant Fuhr stopped 27 shots to lead the defending Stanley Cup champion Oilers in their Smythe Division opener. Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is scheduled for Saturday night.

Canucks 6, Kings 5

At Inglewood, Calif., Geoff Courtnall scored a hat trick and set up Cliff Ronning's tie-breaking goal with 2:31 left gave Vancouver the upset victory over Los Angeles. Ronning, dealt to the Canucks with Courtnall and two others from St. Louis March 5, rifled a straightaway 30-foot slap shot past goalie Kelly Hrudey to complete a stunning third-period rally from a 5-3 deficit.