NHL Game Summary - St. Louis at Chicago
(Wednesday, April 7th)
Final Score: Chicago 6, St. Louis 5
Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Kris Versteeg had a goal and three assists as Chicago raced out to a five-goal lead and held on late to edge St. Louis, 6-5, at United Center.
The win moved Chicago into a tie with idle San Jose for the top spot in the Western Conference. Chicago, though, holds the tiebreaker as it has two more wins than San Jose. Both teams have 109 points and two games to play.
"That was our goal (to finish first in the West)," Versteeg said. "There's a lot of good teams at the top battling for one spot, and no matter who you play in the playoffs -- it's going to be a tough battle. We're excited to go in there and try to finish first."
Duncan Keith, Jordan Hendry and Andrew Ladd each had a goal and an assist for the Blackhawks, who have won five straight. Antti Niemi made 26 saves in the win.
T.J. Oshie had a goal and an assist while Brad Boyes, David Perron, Roman Polak and Erik Johnson each lit the lamp for the Blues, who had won five of six coming into the game. Chris Mason gave up three goals on four shots in less than eight minutes before being pulled for Ty Conklin, who finished the game with 19 saves.
St. Louis was eliminated from postseason play on Tuesday due to Colorado's victory over Vancouver.
"We weren't mentally sharp, and you're asking for trouble," said Blues head coach Davis Payne. "When Chicago's been playing like they are in their building with the type of skill and ability they have -- we made a lot of bad reads, and they had a lot of easy opportunities."
Before the game, Blues forward Keith Tkachuk, who sat out the game with a lower body injury, announced that he plans to retire at the conclusion of the season.
The 38-year-old, who was the 19th overall pick of the 1990 draft by Winnipeg, has played 19 NHL seasons and 1,200 regular season games. A native of the Boston suburbs, Tkachuk has racked up 538 goals and 525 assists and an additional 56 points in 89 playoff games. He has also been a part of four U.S. Olympic teams and collected a silver medal in 2002.
Down by four entering the final 20 minutes, the visitors made a charge beginning with Johnson's score 3:43 into the third before Oshie tallied to make it a 6-4 contest with 6:16 to play.
Boyes was awarded a penalty shot with 31 seconds to play after Hawks forward Dustin Byfuglien was given a major for slashing and a game misconduct. He beat Niemi to make it a one-goal game, but St. Louis was unable to net the equalizer.
St. Louis opened up the scoring in the game as Perron's backhander off an Andy McDonald rebound made it a 1-0 game 4:22 in, but the Blackhawks scored the next six goals to take control.
Keith got things started as his slap shot from the right circle found the back of the net at 6:17 then goals from Ben Eager and Bryan Bickell separated by 30 seconds a bit later made it a 3-1 game and chased Mason from the net.
Versteeg scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway at the 9:25 mark of the first to give Chicago a 4-1 lead.
Ladd got a feed from Versteeg on the fly and from the left circle lasered a wrister into the right corner of the net 5:54 into the second.
Hendry's slap shot at the 10:56 mark made it a 6-1 game and Polak stopped the bleeding for St. Louis less than five minutes later with his fourth goal of the season.
Chicago forward Marian Hossa left the game early in the second period with an unknown injury...Chicago plays its last road game of the regular season in Colorado on Friday...St. Louis plays its final home game of the season on Friday versus Anaheim...Chicago took four of the six games against St. Louis this season.
04/08 01:26:27 ET