Blues remain in Central race, earning point in shootout loss to Blackhawks
Jonathan Toews scored the lone goal in the shootout after connecting for his career-high 35th in regulation, and the Blackhawks beat St. Louis 4-3 on Wednesday night.
Tyler Bozak stuffed a rebound with 38.9 seconds left to tie the game at 3 and send it to overtime as St. Louis rallied from a two-goal deficit in the third period.
Vladimir Tarasenko and David Perron also scored for St. Louis, which improved to 95 points, but missed an opportunity to pull into a first-place tie in the Central with idle Winnipeg and Nashville, both of which have 96. The three teams have all clinched playoff spots and each has two games remaining.
“Obviously it’s always good to get a point that you don’t think you’re going to have 10 minutes before that,” Perron said. “Our energy wasn’t the greatest to start the game, but I think we started finding it in the third, we pushed pretty good.
“We will scramble to get as many points as well can.”
St. Louis entered having won six of seven. The Blues were last in the NHL at the start of January, but have gone on a 28-10-5 run since the start of 2019, including 11 straight wins from Jan. 23 through Feb. 19.
Since Craig Berube took over as coach on Nov. 19, 2018, the Blues are 36-19-6. A worst-to-first scenario remains in reach for St. Louis.
“Home-ice advantage is up for grabs, the division, lots for things are still there that you can get,” Berube said. “We need to play consistent hockey here going into the playoffs.”
Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist to set a career high for points at 107. Ward stopped 37 shots through overtime and all three Blues shooters in the tiebreaker.
Artem Anisimov also connected for Chicago.
Ward was strong in his first start in a month. Corey Crawford had started 13 straight games for the Blackhawks, who were eliminated from playoff contention for the second straight season on Tuesday night when Colorado beat Edmonton.
Jake Allen stopped 35 shots in his second start in eight games for St. Louis. Even though the Blackhawks are out of the playoffs, Chicago’s marquee stars tested him as Kane took six shots and Toews had three.
“They compete hard,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “They love to play. They love to win.
“They want to be the guys counted on in big situations.”
Kane, who had 106 points in 2015-16, ended a 10-game drought with his 42nd goal.
Toews, Chicago’s captain, had 34 goals in 2008-09, his second of 12 NHL seasons. He set a career high for points in a season on Monday and now has 79.
“Getting to play with them is a treat every day,” Ward said. “Especially Patrick Kane, he amazes you.
“They preach to keep working despite our situation.”
Toews opened the scoring with 3:34 left in the first. He drove to the net and tapped Kane’s pinpoint backhand pass from the lower right circle past Allen’s left pad.
Tarasenko tied it at 1 just 26 seconds into the second period. After cruising into the Chicago zone on a 2-on-1 break with Ryan O’Reilly, Tarasenko fired a rising shot from the left side over Ward’s glove and into the upper right corner of the net for his fifth goal in five games against Chicago this season.
Anisimov put Chicago back in front 2-1 on a deflection with 6:40 left in the period, moments after Ward stopped Jaden Schwartz from the slot with a glove save.
Dominik Kahun carried the puck down the right wing and into the Blues zone. He cut to the slot, shot and Anisimov redirected the puck past Allen’s left pad.
Kane broke in alone and roofed a backhand just under the crossbar with 8:23 left in the third to make it 3-1. Perron replied with a power-play goal from the right circle 46 seconds later to trim Chicago’s lead to 3-2.
Allen made a point-blank save on Brandon Saad midway through overtime.
NOTES: The Central Division rivals met for the fifth and final time this season, but for the first time since Nov. 14, 2018. … Blackhawks D Dennis Gilbert made his NHL debut after being recalled from Rockford of the AHL on Wednesday. … Kahun returned after missing a game with a facial injury. … The Blackhawks honored Hall of Fame brothers Tony and Phil Esposito with a “One More Shift” salute before the game. Both skated on to the ice and joined their former team during the national anthem. Tony Esposito debuted with the Blackhawks as a Calder Trophy winner in 1969-70 following a trade from Montreal and tended goal for Chicago for 15 seasons. Phil Esposito played his first four seasons in Chicago before being traded to Boston where he led in the NHL in goal scoring over six straight seasons.
Blues: Host Philadelphia on Thursday night.
Blackhawks: Host Dallas on Friday in home finale.