Blues score 3 power-play goals in 5-1 victory over Blackhawks
ST. LOUIS (AP)—After struggling most of the season, the St. Louis Blues’ power play has been potent the past two games.
Brad Boyes’ 32nd goal was the go-ahead score and the Blues scored three times with the man advantage for the second straight game in a 5-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday night. St. Louis’ power play has trailed the NHL much of the season.
“I don’t know what the difference is,” coach Andy Murray said. “We’re not doing anything different, we’re not teaching anything different.
“Pucks are just going in for us right now.”
Manny Legace had a relatively easy night in net in his 17th straight appearance for the Blues, who are on a 4-0-1 run that has put them back into playoff contention. The past two games Legace has faced 19 shots, but in the two games prior to that he stopped 81 of 84 shots.
“We had to play like we did the other night, and we did,” Legace said. “The guys came out and played phenomenal again.”
The Blues, playing in front of their second consecutive sellout crowd of 19,150, have won consecutive games by a 5-1 score. They also slowed the Blackhawks, who were 4-0-1 in their previous five games but were quiet after Martin Havlat’s goal on a breakaway at 1:05 of the first period.
“We were talking about having a good start, but we’ve got to play 60 minutes to win these games,” Havlat said. “Obviously, we took too many penalties.
“Other than that, it’s tough to say.”
Rookie Jonathan Toews, who had two goals and three assists in four games since returning from a sprained left knee, was limited to one shot. Patrick Lalime gave up four goals after allowing one in each of the past two games.
Coach Denis Savard said Havlat was his best forward “by a country mile,” and said conditioning may have been a factor with Toews.
“We’ve got guys just coming back from injuries and at some point it’s going to be a little tougher for them,” Savard said. “It’s tough when you’re out.
“You’ve got lots of adrenaline going early but it catches up.”
St. Louis entered the night in 11th place in the Western Conference, three points out of the final postseason spot with Chicago three points behind. The season series between the traditional rivals is tied at three wins with two games to go.
The Blues’ power play moved out of last place and up one notch to 29th in the NHL after going 3-for-7 in a 5-1 victory over the Kings on Sunday, then went 3-for-6 against the Blackhawks with Barret Jackman, Lee Stempniak and Keith Tkachuk all scoring.
Boyes’ second goal in two games gave the Blues a 2-1 lead in the second period. Andy McDonald broke free in the Chicago zone, hit Paul Kariya on a cross-ice pass and Boyes banged in the rebound at 8:03.
St. Louis pulled away in the third period, outshooting the Blackhawks 12-4. Stempniak’s 11th goal capitalized on a double-minor against Tuomo Ruutu for high-sticking and boarding at 11:04, Tkachuk scored his 19th on a power play at 12:26 and Jay McClement added an empty-net goal with 2:32 to go.
A long rebound led to Havlat’s breakaway and he tapped in his own rebound for the Blackhawks’ first two shots of the game. Jackman’s second goal of the season tied it at 10:48 on a power play with a shot that deflected off a Blackhawks player near the net.
The first period featured three scrums, beginning with a fight between the Blues’ Dan Hinote and Chicago’s Craig Adams only 2 seconds after the opening faceoff. … Havlat has three goals and an assist in the past four games. … The Blues have had 15 sellouts. … Blues rookie David Perron, who scored his 12th goal Sunday and has converted on a team-high 25 percent of his limited opportunities, was a healthy scratch for the third time in four games.