NHL Game Summary - Chicago at St. Louis
(Tuesday, January 2nd)
Final Score: Chicago 4, St. Louis 1
St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 38 shots, as the Chicago Blackhawks used a four-goal third-period blitz to upend the St. Louis Blues, 4-1 in the front end of a two-game series at Scottrade Center.
"He is the difference every night, he keeps us in the game," said Hawks forward Martin Havlat.
Havlat, Peter Bondra, Jeff Hamilton and Martin Lapointe tallied for the Blackhawks, who broke a two-game slide. Tuomo Ruutu and Denis Arkhipov each added two assists.
Keith Tkachuk scored the lone goal for the Blues, who lost for the second time in their last seven games. Manny Legace stopped 22 shots on the night, dropping to 10-11-4 on the year.
The teams will play again in St. Louis on Thursday.
Down by a goal but yet to find the net, the Blackhawks responded with one of their finest periods of the season to steal a crucial intra-division victory.
Havlat tied the game at 1-1, 6:15 in, when he tucked a backhander to the far side on Legace. Radim Vrbata made the play happen by finding a seam behind the net between two Blues checkers, slipping the puck to the shifty Czech sniper for his 13th of the season.
Bondra put Chicago up 2-1 just 59 seconds later, following Arkhipov's backhander down the right wing with a rebound goal from the left side.
Hamilton's short-side wrister midway through the period came from another Blues defensive lapse, as Ruutu was allowed ample time below the goal line to wait for Hamilton to get open in the left circle. Three goals in 3 minutes, 23 seconds found the Blackhawks suddenly with a two-goal cushion.
Blues head coach Andy Murray decided to pull Legace twice within the final three minutes, including a brief stretch with St. Louis on a power play with 3:09 remaining, but the home team could not generate any offensive flow.
Lapointe would cement the win on an empty-netter with 43 seconds left, as Legace remained on the bench in spite of the fact that the Blues were shorthanded.
St. Louis struck first on a 5-on-3 power play at 11:29 of the opening period, as Bill Guerin and Lee Stempniak made tic-tac-toe passes to get the puck to Tkachuk at the top of the left circle, and his one-timer beat Khabibulin cleanly over the glove.
Neither team hit the net in the middle 20 minutes, as St. Louis enjoyed a 10-8 shots advantage.
"We need to learn how to beat them," said Murray. "They've figured out how to beat us the last couple of games. Most of the game we gave up very few scoring chances. It doesn�t matter, they got enough to win."
The Hawks have won four in a row over the Blues, and six of the last eight meetings...Bondra's goal was his 501st career tally, and his first since hitting the 500-goal plateau on December 22nd...Havlat's goal was his first in five games...Both Lasse Kukkonen of Chicago and David Backes of St. Louis were whistled for three penalties each, and both teams combined for 18 penalties on the night.
01/03 01:08:52 ET