CHICAGO – The St. Louis Blues not only got a rare victory in Chicago, they also got a rare comeback win over the league-leading Blackhawks.
Defenceman Kevin Shattenkirk scored the deciding goal in the sixth round of the shootout and the Blues rallied for a 4-3 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday night.
With the tiebreaker knotted at 3-3, Shattenkirk beat Corey Crawford with a wrist shot high on the goalie’s left side.
Chris Stewart, Andy McDonald and Alexander Steen also connected in the shootout as the Blues overcame a 2-1 deficit after two periods and ended a seven game (0-3-4) losing streak in Chicago dating to Feb. 3, 2010. The Blackhawks lost for only the third time this season (20-1-2) when leading after 40 minutes.
The Blues’ Adam Cracknell scored his second goal of the game at 3:30 of the third, then David Backes connected 3:36 later—ending a personal 14-game streak without a goal—to put St. Louis ahead 3-2.
But Chicago’s Viktor Stalberg swept in a rebound of Michal Rozsival’s shot with 4:31 left in regulation to tie the game at 3, force overtime and snap his streak of 14 games without a score.
“I think we did a great job reacting after their third goal,” Shattenkirk said. “In the first half of the year we would have let that affect us a little more, but I think we’ve done a great job recently of bouncing back from goals.”
The Blues (19-14-2) are in a tight race in the Western Conference to make the playoffs after posting 109 points last year. They wanted two points, not just one.
“We don’t like to give up leads in the third period, but the team across the hall has a lot of firepower and they never quit,” Backes said. “It was one of the more entertaining shootouts I think you’ll ever see.
“We’ll take the other point any way we can.”
The Blues matched the Blackhawks in three of the first five rounds of the shootout. After newly acquired Chicago centre Michal Handzus was stopped by Brian Elliot in the sixth frame, Shattenkirk won it.
Cracknell’s two goals were his first this season, following his recall on Tuesday from Peoria of the AHL. He played in only his ninth NHL game this year, and entered the contest with four goals and six assists in 34 career NHL games.
“It was exciting getting the call a couple days ago, knowing we’re going to Chicago,” Cracknell said. “It was nice to contribute a couple goals.”
Elliott made 33 saves through overtime in his first start and second game since returning from a two-game conditioning stint in the minors.
“It’s a credit to him how tough he’s been working,” Backes said. “He’s found his stride again, and we’ll ride him as long as we can.”
Elliot had a league-leading 1.56 goals-against average and a franchise record nine shutouts last season. But he entered Thursday’s game with a 3.51 goals-against average, and 4-6-1 record.
He relieved Jaroslav Halak in the Blues’ 4-1 victory at Minnesota on Monday, and stopped 19 of 20 shots to pick up his first win since Jan. 31. Halak left that game with a groin injury and is out indefinitely.
Chicago’s Jonathan Toews scored his 18th goal early in the second period, then set up rookie Brandon Saad’s goal 2:27 later to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead going into the third period.
Toews, Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa connected for the Blackhawks in the shootout.
Crawford stopped 19 shots through overtime in his third straight start.
“It’s definitely not fun when you give up that many goals in the third period,” Crawford said. “I just didn’t feel that great in the shootout.”
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t especially upset, although his team dropped to 15-3-4 in one-goal games.
“Third goal—I like the way we came back in the game as well. I thought we played well for the majority of the game.”
Hossa, one of the Blackhawks’ top forwards, returned after missing six games with an upper-body injury. Forward Patrick Sharp, who led Chicago with 33 goals last season, sat out his 12th game with an injured shoulder.
Cracknell scored with 3:57 left in a tightly played first period.
Toews fought off two St. Louis defenders to tie it on a rebound at 3:18 of the second, just 19 seconds after Chicago had killed a penalty. Toews set up Saad’s goal that made it 2-1 just 2:27 later.
Cracknell’s second goal tied it 2-2 and Backes scored his first goal since March 1 3:36 later, putting the Blues back up when he was left open at the edge of the crease and backhanded in a rebound of defenceman Jay Bouwmeester’s shot from the point.
Stalberg scored his first goal since March 1 with 4:31 left to send it to overtime.
NOTES: Bouwmeester played his first game with the Blues after being acquired in a trade from Calgary on Monday. … Handzus, acquired from San Jose on Monday, skated in his first game since the trade. He played eight games for Chicago in 2006-07 before being sidelined by a season-ending knee injury. … Elliott allowed three goals in his two games with Peoria of the AHL. … Blues forward T.J. Oshie, who was placed on IR Tuesday, missed his second game with a lower-body injury. … D Jordan Leopold played in his second game with the Blues after arriving in a weekend deal with Buffalo.