CHICAGO (AP) - No Stanley Cup slump for St. Louis so far.
The Blues just keep rolling along.
Jake Allen made 38 saves, Brayden Schenn scored his team-leading 14th goal and St. Louis beat the short-handed Chicago Blackhawks 4-0 on Monday night for its fourth consecutive victory.
“Sometimes it might be boring hockey, but that’s the way we play and that’s the way we won last year and are continuing to have success,” Allen said.
Jaden Schwartz, Tyler Bozak and Mackenzie MacEachern also scored for the Blues, who improved to 13-3-3 since star forward Vladimir Tarasenko was sidelined by a left shoulder injury that required surgery.
So much for that championship hangover. The Blues (18-5-6) show no signs of slowing down coming off the franchise’s first Stanley Cup title.
“We’re a hard-working team,” coach Craig Berube said. “We play good defense. Play a North-South game, that’s our identity and it works.”
It was Allen’s first shutout of the season and No. 20 for his career, matching Jaroslav Halak for second on the franchise list. Brian Elliott leads the way with 25.
“Hopefully a few more to come in the future,” said Allen, who serves as the backup for Jordan Binnington. “But it’s a credit to not just me but a lot of the boys in front of me doing a lot of hard work.”
Chicago lost for the sixth time in seven games since a four-game win streak. The crowd of 21,284 booed after the final seconds ticked off.”
“I didn’t think we played with the energy we needed to be good,” coach Jeremy Colliton said. “I thought the execution wasn’t there, either.”
The last-place Blackhawks (10-12-5) played a man short because of injuries and the salary cap, going with 11 forwards and six defensemen.
Andrew Shaw was scratched with an unspecified injury, and fellow forwards Dylan Strome and Drake Caggiula remain out with concussions. Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith missed his second straight game with a groin injury, and goaltender Robin Lehner was ruled out with an illness.
“It is what it is. We got down on the score pretty early in the game. Sometimes you shorten your bench in those situations anyway,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “It’s something we’re used to. It shouldn’t be that big of a deal.”
Chicago also announced before the game that assistant Marc Crawford will be away from the team while it reviews his conduct with another organization. The 58-year-old Crawford joined Colliton’s staff in June.
The Blackhawks didn’t provide any details about what they are examining, but former NHL forward Sean Avery recently told the New York Post that Crawford kicked him after he was whistled for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty when he played for Crawford with the Los Angeles Kings during the 2006-07 season.
“I understand the reason for a review,” Colliton said. “I can only speak for my time with Marc. He’s been excellent. I’ve really enjoyed that he’s added a lot to our group and our staff and our players. I’ll leave it at that.”
St. Louis went ahead to stay when MacEachern scored for the second straight game 2:34 into the first period. Vince Dunn’s shot went off the backboards and right in front to a wide-open MacEachern, who batted it in for his fourth of the season.
Schwartz made it 2-0 when he tipped Alex Pietrangelo’s power-play shot past a screened Crawford at 14:22 of the first.
The Blues put it away with two more in the third. Schenn drove a tumbling puck by Crawford at 8:56, and Bozak scored off a turnover by Blackhawks defenseman Olli Maatta with 1:49 left.
The Blackhawks had a couple of prime scoring opportunities, but came up empty. Alex DeBrincat hit a post late in the second.
Patrick Kane’s 15-game point streak ended.
NOTES: St. Louis D Robert Bortuzzo returned to the lineup after serving a four-game suspension for cross-checking Predators forward Viktor Arvidsson during the Blues’ 4-2 loss on Nov. 23. … Strome participated in the morning skate and said he was feeling better. “We’ll see what happens, but keep skating with the guys and nice to be back out there,” he said. … The Blackhawks recalled G Kevin Lankinen on an emergency basis from Rockford, and D Ian McCoshen was reassigned to the American Hockey League team. … Blues forward David Perron extended his point streak to eight games with an assist on Schwartz’s goal.
Blues: Visit the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday night.
Blackhawks: Visit the Boston Bruins on Thursday night.
Jay Cohen can be reached at https://twitter.com/jcohenap
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