Khabibulin, Blackhawks stymie Blues

CHICAGO (AP) — After being badly outplayed and shut down in
back-to-back losses, the Chicago Blackhawks turned the tables.

Nikolai Khabibulin made 16 saves, and Jonathan Toews, Samuel
Pahlsson and Colin Fraser scored for the Blackhawks, who beat
St. Louis, 3-1, on Wednesday night and snapped the Blues’
five-game winning streak.

The Blackhawks were in control throughout and moved within one
point of clinching their first playoff berth since 2001-02 and
their second in 11 seasons. Chicago also jumped one point ahead
of Calgary and into fourth place in the Western Conference.

Khabibulin lost a bid for his second shutout when St. Louis’
Jeff Woywitka scored a power-play goal with 1.5 seconds
remaining. The Blackhawks, who lost 4-0 to Vancouver and 4-1 to
Montreal in their previous two games, dominated and limited the
Blues to their second-lowest shot output this season.

“St. Louis has checked hard against us all year,” Toews said.
“We went out there and took it to them

“That we dictated most of the game was good. We kept them away
from our net and made our goaltender’s job just a little bit
easier, for once.”

Chicago finished 2-2-2 against St. Louis this season and will
play Friday at home against Nashville. If the Blues don’t win at
Detroit on Thursday, the Blackhawks will lock up a postseason

“I wasn’t aware of that,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
“We want to get fourth in the conference. That’s the motivation
for us.

“We had a good effort. A good start. We checked well, had
support around the puck. We had the puck a lot and won some

Chicago forward Martin Havlat assisted on Toews’ goal to give
him a career-high 69 points. Havlat was chosen as the
Blackhawks’ Masterton Trophy nominee following the game.

St. Louis remained in ninth place in the Western Conference, one
point behind Anaheim and Nashville at the playoff cutoff.

The Blues were last in the Western Conference on Feb. 18, but
have gone 13-5-2 since then to climb back into playoff
contention. They took a detour on Wednesday.

“Give the Hawks credit. They outplayed us in every aspect of the
game and outworked us,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “There are
no reasons. It needs to be different and it has been different.
We were not ourselves, and we need to get it back.”

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St. Louis’ Chris Mason stopped 27 shots in his 28th straight
start. He made several tough, point-blank saves to keep the game

“It’s not too often I can say we got outworked,” Mason said.
“Tonight we got outworked, we got outplayed. It was one of our
worst games, I think, in a long time.”

Chicago outshot St. Louis 11-3 in the first period, and jumped
ahead 2-0 after 20 minutes on goals by Toews and Pahlsson.

Toews opened the scoring with 8:15 left in the first when he
drove across the slot from the right circle and fired in a low

Pahlsson, acquired from Anaheim on March 4, scored his first
goal with the Blackhawks just over four minutes later to make it

Mason kept the Blues in the game through the scoreless second.
Among the 10 shots he turned aside were a point-blank backhander
by Patrick Sharp in the opening minute and Patrick Kane’s stuff
from the edge of the crease with 4:30 left.

Although the Blackhawks limited the Blues to four shots in the
second, Khabibulin stopped Keith Tkachuk on a breakaway with
four minutes left.

Fraser scored on a short-handed breakaway with 4:31 remaining in
the third to make it 3-0. Woywitka scored from a scrum following
a faceoff to get the Blues on the board.

Notes: Chicago D Matt Walker returned after missing five games
with an upper-body injury. … Chicago RW Troy Brouwer missed
his second game due to a knee injury. … Blackhawks C Dave
Bolland sat out his first game due to an undisclosed lower-body
injury, sustained Tuesday in a 4-1 loss at Montreal. … St.
Louis RW Cam Janssen and D Tyson Strachan were healthy
scratches. … The Blackhawks honored Hall-of-Fame goalie Glenn
Hall in a pregame ceremony. Hall was unable to attend, however,
due to family obligations.