Blues edge Hawks in shootout
CHICAGO – Defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout and the St. Louis Blues came back for a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday night.
With the tiebreaker knotted 3-3, Shattenkirk beat Corey Crawford with a wrist shot high on the goalie’s left side.
Chris Stewart, Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen also connected in the shootout as the Blues bounced back from a 2-1 deficit after two periods and ended a seven game (0-3-4) losing streak in Chicago dating to Feb. 3, 2010. The league-leading Hawks lost for only the third time this season (20-1-2) when leading after 40 minutes.
St. Louis’ Adam Cracknell scored his first two goals of the season and David Backes added a goal early in the third period, ending a 14-game drought without scoring.
The Hawks’ Viktor Stalberg swept in a rebound of Michal Rozsival’s shot with 4:31 left in regulation to tie the score at 3, force overtime and snap a personal streak of 14 games without a goal.
The Hawks’ Jonathan Toews scored his 18th goal early in the second period, then set up rookie Brandon Saad’s goal 2:27 later to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead they carried into the third period.
Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa connected for the Hawks in the shootout.
The Blues’ Brian Elliott made 33 saves through overtime in his first start and second game since returning from a two-game conditioning stint in the minors.
Crawford stopped 19 shots through overtime in his third straight start.
Cracknell was recalled on Tuesday from Peoria of the AHL, and played in only his ninth game this season. He entered the contest with four goals and six assists in 34 career NHL games.
Elliott had a league-leading 1.56 goals-against average and a franchise record nine shutouts last season. But he entered Thursday’s game with a 3.51 goals-against average, and 4-6-1 record.
He relieved Jaroslav Halak in the Blues’ 4-1 victory at Minnesota on Monday, and stopped 19 of 20 shots to pick up his first win since Jan. 31. Halak left that game with a groin injury and is out indefinitely.
Hossa, one of the Blackhawks’ top forwards, returned after missing six games with an upper-body injury. Forward Patrick Sharp, who led Chicago with 33 goals last season, sat out his 12th game with an injured shoulder.
Defenseman Jay Bouwmeester played his first game with the Blues after being acquired in a trade from Calgary on Monday. The Blues are in a tight race in the Western Conference to make the playoffs after posting 109 points last year.
Cracknell scored with 3:57 left in a tightly played first period.
His drive from 40 feet out in the slot ticked off the stick of Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook, fooled Crawford and landed in the upper right-hand corner of the net.
Toews fought off two St. Louis defenders to tie it on a rebound at 3:18 of the second, just 19 seconds after Chicago had killed a penalty.
Seabrook pinched in and fired from the left circle after taking a cross-ice pass from Kane. Elliott stopped that attempt, but Toews outmuscled Bouwmeester and Alex Pietrangelo to pop in the loose puck.
Toews set up Saad’s goal that made it 2-1 just 2:27 later.
After the Blues’ Alexander Steen couldn’t handle the puck on the right boards, Toews knocked it into corner and made a pinpoint pass across the slot to Saad at the low edge of the left circle. Saad was left uncovered and one-timed in his eighth goal.
Cracknell scored his second goal on a breakaway 3:30 into the third to tie it at 2.
After taking a pass from Shattenkirk, Cracknell sped past Chicago defensemen Duncan Keith and Rozsival and down the slot alone. He faked Crawford to the ice, then tucked a low shot between Crawford’s outstretched left skate and the right post.
Backes scored his first goal since March 1, putting the Blues up 3-2 3:36 later after he was left open at the edge of the crease and backhanded in a rebound Bouwmeester’s shot from the point.
Stalberg’s first goal since March 1 sent it to overtime.
Crawford stopped Steen in close 2:04 into overtime, then the Blackhawks dominated for the next two minutes.
The Blues Andy McDonald had a partial breakaway, but was angled out by Keith and stopped by Crawford with 12 seconds left in overtime.
NOTES: New Blackhawks C Michal Handzus, acquired from San Jose on Monday, skated in his first game since the trade. He played eight games for Chicago in 2006-07 before being sidelined by a season-ending knee injury. . Elliott allowed three goals in his two games with Peoria of the AHL. . Blues forward T.J. Oshie, who was placed on IR Tuesday, missed his second game with a lower-body injury. . D Jordan Leopold played in his second game with the Blues after arriving in a weekend deal with Buffalo.