- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 1, 2009

CHICAGO (AP) - Nikolai Khabibulin made 16 saves, and Jonathan Toews, Samuel Pahlsson and Colin Fraser scored for the Chicago Blackhawks, who beat St. Louis 3-1 on Wednesday night and snapped the Blues’ five-game winning streak.

The Blackhawks moved within one point of clinching their first playoff berth since 2001-02 and their second in 11 seasons. Chicago also jumped one point ahead of Calgary and into fourth place in the Western Conference.

Khabibulin lost a bid for his second shutout when St. Louis’ Jeff Woywitka scored a power-play goal with 1.5 seconds remaining. The Blackhawks, who had lost their previous two games, dominated and limited the Blues to their second-lowest shot output this season.

Chicago forward Martin Havlat assisted on Toews’ goal to give him a career-high 69 points.

St. Louis remained in ninth place in the Western Conference, one point behind Anaheim and Nashville at the playoff cutoff.

The Blues were last in the Western Conference on Feb. 18, but have gone 13-5-2 since then.

St. Louis’ Chris Mason stopped 27 shots in his 28th straight start. He made several tough, point-blank saves to keep the game close.

Chicago outshot St. Louis 11-3 in the first period, and jumped ahead 2-0 after 20 minutes on goals by Toews and Pahlsson.

Toews opened the scoring with 8:15 left in the first when he drove across the slot from the right circle and fired in a low shot.

Pahlsson, acquired from Anaheim on March 4, scored his first goal with the Blackhawks just over four minutes later to make it 2-0.

Mason kept the Blues in the game through the scoreless second. Among the 10 shots he turned aside were a point-blank backhander by Patrick Sharp in the opening minute and Patrick Kane’s stuff from the edge of the crease with 4:30 left.

Although the Blackhawks limited the Blues to four shots in the second, Khabibulin stopped Keith Tkachuk on a breakaway with four minutes left.

Fraser scored on a short-handed breakaway with 4:31 remaining in the third to make it 3-0. Woywitka scored from a scrum following a faceoff to complete the scoring.

Notes:@ Chicago D Matt Walker returned after missing five games with an upper-body injury. … Chicago RW Troy Brouwer missed his second game due to a knee injury. … Blackhawks C Dave Bolland sat out his first game due to an undisclosed lower-body injury, sustained Tuesday in a 4-1 loss at Montreal. … St. Louis RW Cam Janssen and D Tyson Strachan were healthy scratches. … The Blackhawks honored Hall-of-Fame goalie Glenn Hall in a pregame ceremony. Hall was unable to attend, however, due to family obligations.



Click to Read More

Click to Hide