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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."

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.


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