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Blackhawks 2, Blues 0

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks have been the best team in the NHL all season, and they reminded the St. Louis Blues of some of the reasons why on Sunday.

The Blackhawks received a great performance in goal from Corey Crawford, stopping all 30 St. Louis shots, and scored on goals by Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa to beat the Blues 2-0, moving them closer to clinching the top spot in the Western Conference.

Crawford made Bickell's second-period goal stand up until Jonathan Toews won a faceoff and got the puck to Hossa, who fired a shot into the St. Louis net 6:34 into the third period. The short-handed goal came just 16 seconds after Duncan Keith was sent off the ice for a tripping penalty.

Bickell's goal ended St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott's shutout streak. Elliott, working on a string of three consecutive shutouts, gave up a goal when Bickell tipped in his own rebound on a shot that hit the post. Elliott hadn't allowed a goal in 214 minutes.

The Blues were able to hold the margin at 1-0 by killing off two minor penalties to Alex Steen, although the second -- for goalie interference -- was called even though Steen appeared to have been pushed into Crawford by Keith.

That extended the Blues' streak to 23 consecutive penalty kills, while Blackhawks had scored only once in their last 28 chances with a man advantage.

The Blackhawks also just missed adding to their lead when shots by Hossa and Sheldon Brookbank hit the post.

Toews, the Blackhawks' captain, left the ice left in the first period after appearing to suffer an injury to his right knee on a hit by David Backes, but he was back on the ice taking the opening faceoff for the second period.

NOTES: Patrick Sharp did not play for the Blackhawks. The team said his status was day to day with an upper-body injury. He had only played two games for Chicago after being out for 14 games with a shoulder injury. ... Dave Bolland was back in the lineup for the Blackhawks after missing four games with a lower-leg injury. ... Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Hobey Baker award winner Dave LeBlanc, signed Friday, could play before the end of the season ... The Blues expect 20-year-old forward Dmitrij Jaskin to make his NHL debut in Tuesday's game against Vancouver ... In a jersey swap, the Blues wore their road white jerseys for Sunday's home game and the Blackhawks wore their red jerseys ... The game started a stretch in which the Blues will play seven of their final eight games of the year at home, only having to go on the road to play at Colorado next Sunday... The Blackhawks will be back in Chicago on Monday night, playing the Dallas Stars.
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