Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - Patrick Sharp scored the go-ahead goal in
the final minute of the second period and Marcus Kruger found the net in the
first minute of the third to lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-2 victory over
the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.
Jeremy Morin also scored and added an assist for the Blackhawks, who have won
three straight after a three-game skid and pulled within two points of
Colorado for second place in the Central Division. The Avalanche earned a
point with a shootout loss to Pittsburgh later Sunday.
"Very workmanlike three games in a row and we got rewarded each night," said
Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville. "It was a good week for us and I liked
our response to a real tough week prior."
Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots in the victory and Ben Smith scored into an
empty net in the final seconds.
Brian Elliott made 31 saves for St. Louis, which was coming off a 4-0 loss to
Colorado on Saturday but still sits on top in the Western Conference. The
Blues, however, remained two points behind idle Boston in the Presidents'
Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka scored for the Blues, who will close the
season with four games in six days, starting Tuesday against Washington.
"We're a little bit tired," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock. "We still have
four more games to play. We have a lot of hockey to play yet and have to find
a way to re-energize ourselves and get back to work."
The game appeared to be headed toward the third period in a 1-1 tie, but
Andrew Shaw slipped the puck to Morin for a 2-on-1 in the final minute. Morin
sent a pass to Sharp in the left circle and he blistered a shot past Elliott
for his 33rd goal with 26.2 seconds left to put Chicago in front.
"Those are obviously momentum swings that can take a game in the opposite
direction," said Elliott about the late second-period goal. "We had the
opportunity to come back, but weren't able to do it."
The Blackhawks added to their lead just 56 seconds into the third. Joakim
Nordstrom fired a shot from the right circle that caromed off the right post,
hit the back of Elliott and tapped the left post. Kruger was on the spot in
the crease to quickly swipe the puck into the net for his eighth goal.
Sobotka beat Crawford with a shot from the left circle for his ninth goal of
the season with 2:02 remaining to pull St. Louis within one, but the Blues
were unable to net the equalizer with an extra attacker.
Alex Pietrangelo's stick broke as he was attempting a shot from the right
point in the closing seconds and the flub led to an empty-net goal for Smith
with 3.3 seconds left to seal it.
Schwartz gave the Blues the early lead just 1:57 into the contest on a power
play when his second shot from the left circle made its way through traffic
for his 24th goal.
Morin tied it for Chicago at 8:34 of the second when he flipped home the
rebound of a Bryan Bickell shot from the left circle.
Smith notched his 13th goal of the season and has now scored in three straight
games ... The Blues were 1-for-4 on the power play and killed off each of
Chicago's four chances with the extra skater ... Chicago finished 2-1-2 in the