ST. LOUIS – No way Ty Conklin thought he’d be starting in goal against the Stanley Cup-champion Blackhawks. Not with Jaroslav Halak coming off a shutout and Conklin getting torched for seven goals in Chicago last month.
The St. Louis Blues’ backup goalie made coach Davis Payne’s decision seem like the logical choice after he stopped 25 shots in a 3-1 victory on Tuesday night.
“There’s nothing more an athlete wants than another kick at it,” Payne said. “That’s exactly what Ty got against these guys.”
Vladimir Sobotka, Brad Boyes and Brad Winchester scored for the Blues, who dominated much of the way to win their fourth in a row and end the Blackhawks’ four-game winning streak. The Blues pelted Marty Turco with 43 shots, making things a bit easier on their backup goalie.
The Blues tied Chicago for seventh in the Western Conference, each with 43 points.
“Ty made the saves when he needed to and I thought everything was timely,” Boyes said. “We didn’t take any time off all three periods.”
Just as Chicago was getting healthier, with Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa returning the last two games, the Blackhawks lost another key player.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago’s second-leading scorer with 33 points, was injured on a check in the first period and didn’t return. Teammate Tomas Kopecky was struck in the face by an errant puck despite wearing a visor but didn’t leave the bench.
Coach Joel Quenneville said Toews had an upper body injury and expected to know more on Wednesday. Quenneville wasn’t pleased with the rest of the roster.
“Maybe you get Kane and Hossa back, you think it’s going to be easy again,” Quenneville said. “What made us effective is we played hard and simple and played for each other.
“We’ve got to get rid of the cutesy stuff.”
When Conklin got the nod from Payne on Monday, Conklin didn’t believe it.
“I asked him, ‘You said I’m playing?'” Conklin said. “And he said, ‘Yeah,’ and I had to ask him again because I was a little surprised. (Payne) said, ‘You sound surprised,’ and I was.
“It was nice to get a second chance at them.”
Boyes deflected a shot from the point by Erik Johnson for the go-ahead goal at 3:08 of the third. Turco reached back to snare the puck in mid-air on Winchester’s shot off a rebound with 5:50 to go, and replays confirmed it crossed the goal line to put the Blues up 3-1.
Quenneville blistered players after calling timeout following Sobotka’s unassisted goal that tied it at 1 at 4:39 of the second. The Blues had a 25-8 shots advantage after Sobotka grabbed a loose puck along the side boards and scored with a high drive.
The Blackhawks were outshot 18-7 in the first period but got the lone goal on Jake Dowell’s fifth of the season and first in 14 games. Viktor Stalberg set up the goal, stealing the puck from Alex Steen near the blue line.
NOTES: The Blues were short-handed for the first time in two games when enforcer Cam Janssen was whistled for roughing at 14:10 of the first. In a 2-0 win at Nashville on Sunday, the Blues were penalty-free for the first time since 2004. … Sobotka has points in four straight games, with two goals and three assists. … The shot total is tied for the Blues’ second-highest of the season and their first time above 40 in 33 games.