With an unforgiving 11-game road swing looming, the Utah Grizzlies were hoping to get the Kansas City Blades while - and where - the going is good: on their home ice Saturday night.

Fortunately, for the record 11,593 in attendance at the Delta Center, they were able to send the Grizzlies off on a positive note.Utah defeated Kansas City, 4-3, in a shootout, with Marc Rodgers scoring the deciding goal.

"We talked about it (the importance of winning tonight) before the game," said Utah coach Butch Goring. "Anytime you leave home with a win you feel good about yourself. You can smile."

Goring had to be smiling himself following the first period. Goals by Andrey Vasiljev and Alan May, along with stellar play between the pipes by goalie Tommy Salo, had given the Grizz a 2-0 advantage after 20 minutes.

"We wanted to keep the game simple tonight," Goring said. "But sometimes it wasn't so simple."

The Blades, who were playing without the services of Jan Caloun, the San Jose Sharks' top prospect, closed the gap when Gary Emmons took an assist from Jeff Batters with 17:19 left in the second period.

Utah bounced back on a power-play goal by Vikter Ignatjev at the 6:42 mark in the second stanza. But the Blades answered with a power-play goal of their own, leaving the Grizzlies with a one-goal lead heading into the final period.

In the third period the Grizzlies were unable to take of advantage of an early power-play opportunity, and the Blades made them pay when David Bruce evened the score at 3-apiece at the 11:07 mark. Both teams got a few good looks at the net during the final 10 minutes, but were unable to score.

In the shootout, Salo gave the Grizzlies some early breathing room by stopping the first two Kansas City attempts.

Utah's Andreas Johansson and Egor Bashkatov both converted, giving Utah a 2-0 lead before Jean-Francois Quintin and Dean Sylvester got Kansas City on the board. It was, however, too little, too late.

Brett Lievers scored Utah's third goal before Rodgers put in the game winner.

"We have a number of guys who have done well (in those situations)," Goring said.

"I just a had a good feel about the guys I wanted to use tonight. Tommy (Salo) got us a nice cushion, and when we get four out of four, you got to like our chances."

As for the Grizzlies' upcoming 11-game road swing that will start March 12 in Peoria, who knows?

At least they can smile tonight.