Saturday, December 28, 2013

Blues rally from three two-goal deficits, down Hawks

Tarasenko, Berglund score late, 
Shattenkirk nets shootout winner in 6-5 victory

ST. LOUIS -- A number of the 'Baby Blues' grew up before their very eyes Saturday night.

Down by two goals three different times, the Blues never quivered.

Even with a slew of key players on the sidelines with injuries, the Blues' young guns grew up against the defending Stanley Cup champions.

Kevin Shattenkirk's goal in the fifth round of the shootout gave the St. Louis Blues a come-from-behind 6-5 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night before a standing room-only crowd of 20,082 at Scottrade Center. 

The Blues twice rallied from a trio of two-goal deficits to beat Chicago for the third time in three tries this season. The third rally came on goals by Vladimir Tarasenko and Patrik Berglund 1:17 apart late in the third period. 

T.J. Oshie and Tarasenko also scored shootout goals for the Blues, who beat Antti Raanta three of five times. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp scored shootout goals for Chicago, but the Blackhawks were denied by Blues goalie Brian Elliott in each of their last three attempts.

Two of the Blues’ three wins against the Blackhawks (27-7-7) have come in shootouts.

Shattenkirk now has two game-winners against the Blackhawks in his career. He also scored in the seventh round at Chicago on April 4, 2013 in a 4-3 win.

"Luckily this time I was the fifth shooter, the last time I was the seventh," Shattenkirk joked. "They have a little more faith in me. 

"It's nice when you get out there and you have a chance to win it for your team. It's a completely different situation when you're trying to stay alive. Literally when I went out there, I looked at Stewy and Osh and Stewy said, 'Low blocker.' He must have seen it and I just stuck to his word." 

The Blues also improved to 49-0-1 in the past 50 games when they score three or more goals on home ice.

"We hung in there and found a way to get two points, which is a heck of a bonus for us," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We got some really good performances, especially from guys like Tarasenko, who was just outstanding. [Jaden] Schwartz was outstanding again and a lot of our younger players really came to play." 

The Blues, who fell behind by two early in the game, got a goal and two assists from Tarasenko, a goal and an assist from Berglund, who tied the game at 5-5 with 2:34 left in the third, and goals from Maxim Lapierre, Schwartz and Dmitrij Jaskin. Ian Cole had two assists.

Jaskin’s goal was the first of his NHL career.

The Blues (25-7-5) improved to 11-0-1 against the Central Division this season and 6-1-2 in their past nine games.

Elliott replaced Jaroslav Halak, who allowed three goals on 13 shots in the first period. Elliott made 17 saves in regulation and overtime before denying Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad in the shootout. 

Toews had the best chance to end the game in overtime but was denied by Elliott with 1:10 remaining.

"A tough one there," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had a couple looks in OT and the shootout, two chances as well. It was a competitive game, they really turned it up in the second period and we didn't have the great response that we needed, but we're still in pretty good shape.

"The crowd was into it. Great intensity, good for the sport, tough for us." 

The Blues played the game without many of their top players, including Alexander Steen, who is out indefinitely with a concussion. Derek Roy was a late scratch because of the flu, Roman Polak has a lower-body injury, and Vladimir Sobotka, who took part in the morning skate and was declared ready to play by coach Ken Hitchcock, did not play after tweaking the same injury.

"We sure do miss some great and important players for us, but we still have to get points, win games," Berglund said. "Obviously a good start for that today to come back in this game against this team and in this building. It was obviously a great feeling." 

Kane extended his NHL-best point streak to 14 games with a goal and two assists. Toews and Duncan Keith each had two assists. Sharp, Andrew Shaw, Brandon Saad and Brent Seabrook also scored for the Blackhawks.

Raanta stopped 20 shots for the Blackhawks and fell to 9-1-3 in his first NHL season.

The Blackhawks set the tempo in the first period, outshooting the Blues 13-6 and taking a 3-1 lead.

Sharp scored his sixth goal in three games, taking Hossa's backhand one-time pass and splitting Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester before beating Halak on a backhand at 7:48 for a 1-0 Chicago lead.

Shaw converted on Chicago's first power play of the game when he was able to poke a puck sitting on the right post into the goal at 9:55 to make it 2-0. Kane deflected Keith's point shot through Halak's pads and the puck caromed off the right post, where Shaw was waiting.

Lapierre pulled the Blues to 2-1 when he tipped Carlo Colaiacovo's shot from the point past Raanta at 14:04, but Kane used Cole as a screen and snapped off a wrister from the right circle, beating Halak to his stick side at 17:04 to restore the Blackhawks' two-goal lead.

Kane now has points in 27 of 28 games (14 goals, 24 assists) and eight goals and 16 assists during the current 14-game point streak.

The Blues came on strong in the second period and tied the game on goals by Schwartz and Jaskin.

Schwartz scored his 12th of the season and notched his 17th point in 16 games (nine goals, eight assists) when he took Tarasenko's feed into the slot and beat Raanta 2:26 into the second to make it a 3-2.

Jaskin tied the game 3-3 when he took in Jay Bouwmeester's shot from the left point and fired it into an open side from a sharp angle 7:47 into the second period.

But the Blackhawks re-established their lead when Ben Smith's pass into the slot caromed off a stick to Saad, who fired one past Elliott with 2:14 left in the second to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead.

Seabrook was somehow able to beat Elliott with what looked like a harmless wrister from the blue line 1:06 into the third to give the Blackhawks a 5-3 lead.

However, the Blackhawks couldn't close the deal.

"We knew they weren't going to quit," Kane said. "Of course it's frustrating. We'll try to improve on that and try to make sure it doesn't happen the next time. But with that being said, it's 5-3 with a couple minutes left and they've got all the momentum.

"We got a point, so I guess that's one positive you can take from it." 

The Blues were down two for the second time and battled back to tie by scoring two goals in 1:17 at the end of the period.

Tarasenko cut Chicago's lead to 5-4 when he fired a shot from the slot past Raanta with 3:51 remaining, then Berglund slipped a backhand pastRaanta with 2:34 remaining after Seabrook failed on two attempts to clear the puck.

"Shatty and Vladi just kept staying on the puck there and I kind of filled in behind," Berglund said. "Vladi came out with the puck and my first thought was just to try and take it to the net. I was lucky it went in.

"I don't know exactly how it went in or whatever. Obviously I'll take it."

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