Blues fail to clinch division after shootout loss to Chicago
Thursday, March 29, 2012
CHICAGO (AP) — Dave Bolland scored the only goal in a four-round shootout and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 on Thursday night to move closer to clinching a playoff berth.
The Blackhawks needed a victory and for Phoenix to lose to San Jose in regulation later Thursday night to clinch their fourth straight trip to the postseason.
The Blues, who have a league-leading 106 points, could have clinched the Central Division title with a victory.
St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak, starting after the Blues’ other goalie, Brian Elliott, had posted three straight shutouts, made 37 saves. Seven of those came in overtime, including a great stop on Patrick Kane with about half a minute left.
Kris Russell’s long slap shot through traffic was tipped in by David Perron with 1:32 left in regulation to tie the game, rallying the Blues after Chicago had taken a 3-1 lead early in the final period.
In the shootout, Bolland was the Blackhawks’ fourth skater and made a nice fake before beating Halak. Chicago’s Corey Crawford stopped all four of the Blues’ attempts.
Bryan Bickell had Chicago’s first goal in the first, followed very quickly by a score from the Blues’ Alexander Steen.
After Andrew Brunette’s rebound goal put the Blackhawks in front 2-1 at 4:15 of the third, Patrick Sharp scored at 8:40 for a 3-1 lead. But 55 seconds later, the Blues’ Jason Arnott poked the puck in past Crawford to make it a one-goal game.
Halak stopped a shot attempt from the side by Marian Hossa and, after Kane couldn’t get control of the puck with a St. Louis player in the net, Brunette knocked it in. Sharp made a steal and then scored on a 2-on-1 after a pass from Viktor Stalberg for a two-goal advantage. But Arnott scored unassisted from close-in on the left side.
Bickell’s shot from above the left circle deflected off Halak and into the net for a 1-0 lead. But just 9 seconds later, Steen took a long diagonal pass, skated past Chicago defenseman Nick Leddy and fired a rising shot past Crawford to tie it.
Notes: Chicago captain Jonathan Toews missed his 18th straight game because of a concussion. Toews skated again Thursday and said he’s close to being cleared for contact. “We’ll see where we are at next week, I guess,” Toews said. “ But right now, like I said, I’m feeling great.” ... Blues LW Andy McDonald (shoulder) was a scratch. ... Elliott (9) and Halak (6) have combined for 15 shutouts. ... Blackhawks D Duncan Keith served the third game of a five-game suspension for elbowing Vancouver’s Daniel Sedin in the head.
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