– Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images
The St. Louis Blues knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 thanks to 38 saves from Jake Allen and a pair of second period goals.
With the win, St. Louis has won three straight games and is now first in the Central Division with a record of 49-23-7 and 105 points. Nashville trails behind with 104 points and three games remaining while Chicago is third in the division with 102 and three games remaining.
If the playoff were to start today, the Blues would take on the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs.
In net, Allen got his second start in three games and once again shined while David Backes and Olli Jokinen provided the offense on the other end of the ice.
Despite the win, Chicago got off to the early lead with a goal late in the first period. T.J. Oshie carried the puck in his defensive end but turned it over to Marian Hossa by the blue line. Hossa carried it with speed around Robert Bortuzzo and Barret Jackman before finding Kris Versteeg in front of the net. Versteeg one-timed the pass just under the outstretched left pad of Allen to make it 1-0 after the first 20 minutes of play.
But, St. Louis fired back in the second period on the power play. Oshie and Kevin Shattenkirk set up the play up top before Shattenkirk took a shot that was blocked. Jaden Schwartz gained control of the puck in front who snuck a pass to David Backes right on the edge of the crease. Backes beat Corey Crawford to tie the game with 13:53 remaining in the second period.
St. Louis had another golden opportunity around the 11 minute mark as Schwartz sent Paul Stastny in all alone on a break away. Stastny shot, and Crawford made the right-pad save, but Stastny picked up the rebound and shot at the open net. Crawford miraculously stuck out his stick to make the paddle save to keep the game tied at one.
The Blues weren’t done in the period as Jokinen earned his first goal as a member of the St. Louis Blues. In the attacking zone, Jori Lehtera won the face off back to Alex Pietrangelo who wristed a shot on net. The puck was blocked out in front to Jokinen who beat the outstretched Crawford giving the Blues the 2-1 lead with under two minutes remaining in the period.
Hossa had another opportunity for the Blackhawks about a minute later as he picked up the dump in attempt and fired a shot past Allen, but it hit the post keeping the score 2-1 after two periods.
Allen shined again in the third period as he made 12 saves in the final period to hang on to the win.
Both teams will square off one more time this regular season Thursday, Apr. 9.
Before that game, the Blues look to take on the Winnipeg Jets at the Scottrade Center Tuesday, Apr. 7 at 7 p.m. CT.