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Blues 3, Blackhawks 1

The SportsXchange

ST. LOUIS -- Jaden Schwartz could not have picked a better time for the first two-goal game of his NHL career.

Schwartz's goals led the St. Louis Blues to a 3-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. The victory clinched fourth place in the Western Conference and gave the Blues home-ice advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

The Blues will play the winner of Saturday night's late game between San Jose and Los Angeles, who were tied in the standings. The Blackhawks' first-round opponent will be the Minnesota Wild, who won Saturday night at Colorado to clinch the eighth spot.

While the Blues had something to play for in the game, the result was meaningless for the Blackhawks, who had clinched the President's Trophy with the best record in the league.

As a result, the Blackhawks kept most of their stars at home, not even having them travel to St. Louis. The Chicago lineup featured seven skaters and a goalie who spent much of this season with the American Hockey League's Rockford IceHogs.

After being shut out by the Blackhawks in the two previous games this year between the two teams in St. Louis, the Blues took a 2-0 lead in the first period when Patrik Berglund and Schwartz put rebounds past goalie Carter Hutton, who was making his NHL debut.

The Berglund goal came on a delayed penalty against Chicago's Mochal Rozsival, giving the Blues an extra skater.

The Blues made it 3-0 at 8:39 of the second period on Schwartz' second goal, which came on David Backes' second assist of the night. Schwartz had scored only five goals in his first 44 games this season.

Chicago avoided being shut out for the first time this season when Ben Smith, one of the players called up from Rockford, scored at 8:23 of the third period.

The win was the sixth in a row at home by the Blues, who will play host to the first two games of the playoffs next week. The complete schedule will be announced Sunday.

NOTES: Among the missing Chicago players were Jonathan Towes, Patrick Kane, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith ... St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said injured forward T.J. Oshie and defenseman Barret Jackman were healthy enough to play and that he expects both to be in the lineup for the opening game of the playoffs ... Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said he does not know if injured forward Dave Bolland or goalie Ray Emery will be ready to play by the start of the playoffs.
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