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Kane's two goals, Lalime's 32 saves lead Blackhawks past Blues 6-1

CHICAGO - The Chicago Blackhawks may have found a new No. 1 goaltender, at least for the time being.

Patrick Lalime made 32 saves in his second straight start in place of Nikolai Khabibulin, and Patrick Kane had two goals and an assist in the Blackhawks' 6-1 win over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night. Lalime will start a third straight time when the Blackhawks play at Colorado on Friday.

"If he keeps winning, he'll keep playing," coach Denis Savard said. "He made some big saves when we needed them. He plays big in goal. He's been there before."

Khabibulin, Chicago's top netminder and highest-paid player, has a seven-game personal losing streak. Lalime was Ottawa's top goalie for four seasons, from 2000-04, and gives the Blackhawks another solid option.

"It's nice to be out there, especially when you get an effort like we did tonight," Lalime said. "I try to do my best when I'm out there and I want to be part of it. My goal is always to give the team a chance to win."

Dustin Byfuglien added a goal and two assists for Chicago, which won its second straight following an eight-game (0-6-2) losing streak. Jack Skille, Rene Bourque and Yanic Perreault also scored for the Blackhawks.

Lee Stempniak scored for the Blues, who lost their third straight (0-2-1).

St. Louis starting goalie Manny Legace left after the first period with an injured right arm. Legace had been named to the Western Conference all-star team last week.

Blues coach Andy Murray said Legace's injury isn't serious and he'll be back in the nets for the St. Louis' next game at home on Saturday against Nashville.

"He's got a bruise and he didn't have the mobility he needed tonight," Murray said.

Legace stopped all seven shots he faced in the first, including several tough chances. Marek Schwarz replaced him to start the second and made only eight saves.

Schwarz, who had played just 11 minutes with the Blues previously this season, had been recalled from Peoria of the AHL on Monday. The Blues had sent Legace's regular backup, Hannu Toivonen, down to Peoria to get some playing time.

"We didn't expect Marek to play," Murray said. "Tonight, I think we had a lot of people who didn't play at the level we really needed them to."

Schwarz appeared in only his fourth NHL game. Previously, he had played a total of just 71 minutes in the league.

"It wasn't easy, but I should have done much better than I did," Schwarz said. "When I get called up, I'm always ready to play."

Kane, the NHL's leading rookie scorer with 43 points, ended a nine-game skid without a goal.

"Hopefully we can start a little streak here to make up for our losing streak," Kane said. "It was a good all-around team win."

The Blackhawks played without seven regulars: defenceman James Wisniewski (knee) and forwards Jonathan Toews (knee), Jason Williams (groin), Kevyn Adams (knee), Dave Bolland (broken finger), Ben Eager (concussion) and Martin Lapointe (flu).

Legace stopped Chicago's Robert Lang three times in the first period, including with a diving glove save just 1:42 in.

Legace suffered his injury with 4:38 left in the first. Blues trainer Ray Barile attended to goalie on the ice and Legace played the remainder of the period.

On the play, Chicago's Patrick Sharp drove to the net, but was muscled down by Blues defenceman Barret Jackman. Sharp barreled over Legace's right pad and flew headfirst into the net.

Sharp wasn't injured.

Skille opened the scoring at 9:19 of the second. After Chicago's Tuomo Ruutu checked St. Louis defenceman Jay McKee off the puck in the right corner, Skille drove to the net and lofted in a backhand shot.

Bourque made it 2-0 with 4:41 left in the second. His screened shot from left wing beat Schwarz high on the stick side.

Stempniak cut it to 2-1 with 1:19 remaining in the period, converting a rebound of David Backes' shot from left wing. Although he apparently was covered by Chicago defenceman Brent Seabrook, Stempniak shovelled in a loose puck after Lalime made a pad save.

Kane made it 3-1 with a power-play goal at 1:02 of the second period. From the inside edge of the right circle, he fired in a one-time shot after taking Byfuglien's cross-ice pass.

Byfuglien made it 4-1 with 7:23 left in the third when his shot deflected in of Bryce Salvador's skate.

St. Louis coach Andy Murray pulled Schwarz for an extra attacker with 6:50 left.

Kane scored an empty-net goal with 5:22 left. Schwarz returned after the goal.

Set up by Kane, Perreault completed the scoring with 2:41 remaining.

Notes: Wisniewski has resumed practising and may play in the Blackhawks' next game, Friday at Colorado. Williams has resumed skating. ... St. Louis LW Martin Rucinsky missed his eighth game with a shoulder injury, while Blues RW Mike Johnson underwent season-ending shoulder surgery Wednesday.



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