Blues edge Blackhawks, grab Central lead

Chicago, IL ( – Jake Allen stopped 38 shots and the St.
Louis Blues edged the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday to move into first
place in the Central Division.

David Backes and Olli Jokinen each scored in the second period for the Blues,
who have won three straight and leapfrogged Nashville in the division
standings. They are one point ahead of the Predators and hold a three-point
lead on the Blackhawks with three games remaining for each club.

St. Louis played its fourth straight game without Alexander Steen and third in
a row without Vladimir Tarasenko. Both forwards are day-to-day because of
lower-body injuries.

Corey Crawford made 31 saves for Chicago, which had its winning streak snapped
at four games.

Chicago had a chance early in the game, but Allen turned away Bryan Bickell on
a 2-on-0 rush.

The Blackhawks did open the scoring with 5:48 left in the first period. Kris
Versteeg tapped in a feed from Marian Hossa following a turnover by T.J. Oshie
in the St. Louis zone.

Backes tied it with a power-play goal at 6:07 of the second period. A shot by
Kevin Shattenkirk from the point was deflected to Jaden Schwartz, who dished
the puck to Backes for an easy tap-in from the doorstep.

Crawford denied Paul Stastny on a breakaway and stopped his two follow-up
chances to keep the score tied with about 11 minutes to go in the second.

Jokinen gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead with 4:48 remaining in the second. Jori
Lehtera won a faceoff in the Chicago zone and Alex Pietrangelo launched a
shot from the point. The puck hit Ty Rattie at the side of the net and went
right to Jokinen, who scored into an open net.

Hossa rang a shot off the post just over a minute later.

Allen made 12 saves in the third period to help St. Louis end a losing streak
at United Center. Including last year’s opening-round playoff series, the
Blues had dropped six straight in Chicago.

Game Notes

St. Louis defenseman Barret Jackman played in his 800th career game …
Chicago defenseman Kimmo Timonen left the game in the first period after
taking a hit along the boards from the Blues’ Ryan Reaves and didn’t return
… St. Louis defenseman Robert Bortuzzo had to leave with an upper-body