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Kyrou scores 2 as Blues beat Blackhawks 5-2 to preserve playoff hopes

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jordan Kyrou scored twice, Robert Thomas had a goal and an assist, and the St. Louis Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Zack Bolduc had a goal and an assist, Torey Krug also scored and Brayden Schenn had two assists for St. Louis. Joel Hofer made 18 saves as the Blues improved to 8-1-1 in their last 10 home games against the Blackhawks.

“Obviously, we had a real good start to that game and you know got rewarded,” Blues coach Drew Bannister said. “Broke the game open pretty quickly, so it was good to see our guys come out with that kind of urgency.”

St. Louis preserved its slim playoff hopes. With Vegas losing to Edmonton, the Blues pulled to within three points for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blues have three games left, while the Golden Knights have four.

“Obviously you can’t control the outcome of what happens to the other teams, but we can control what we do, right?” Kyrou said. “That’s all we’re focused on right now.”

Philipp Kurashev and Landon Slaggert scored for the Blackhawks. Petr Mrazek was pulled after giving up three goals on three shots over the first 4:37. Arvid Soderblom came on and finished with 21 saves.

“We definitely weren’t ready to compete and they showed their desperation on where they are in the standings,” Blackhawks coach Luke Richardson said. “And unfortunately, we didn’t give Petr much help, giving him a breakaway and a 2-on-1 to start the game.”

The Blues ambushed the Blackhawks with four goals in a 4:55 span early in the first period, scoring on their first four shots of the game.

Kyrou started the outburst with two straight goals just 42 seconds apart. Kyrou has a four-game point streak and has 15 points in his last 10 games (eight goals, seven assists).

“Obviously, it feels great,” Kyrou said. “It gives you a good confidence boost the rest of the game.”

Kyrou’s first came at 2:04 on a breakaway off an outlet pass from Nick Leddy. Hofer got his second career NHL point with the secondary assist on the play.

Kyrou struck again at 2:46, with Pavel Buchnevich getting an assist on the play for his 400th career point.

“He’s finding a lot of space out there, he’s using his speed again,” Bannister said of Kyrou. “It was a good game for him. But I think overall, like over the last three or four games, he’s been really competitive and, you know, obviously he’s feeling confident in his game right now.”

Krug made it 3-0 at 4:37, ending Mrazek’s night.

Bolduc greeted Soderblum with his fourth of the season at 6:59. The goal gave the Blues a 4-0 lead before either Blackhawks goalie could record a save.

“I’m getting more comfortable,” Bolduc said. “I think my confidence level is pretty good too. Playing with (Thomas) and (Schenn) makes my game so much easier.”

St. Louis outshot Chicago 9-1 in the first period.

“What needs to be said?” Blackhawks center Jason Dickinson said. “I don’t think anything needs to be said. It was an embarrassing first period. One shot, maybe three shot attempts, we were down 4-0. What words need to be said?”

Kurashev got the Blackhawks on the board at 8:40 of the second, giving him points in four of his last five games.

Thomas scored his 25th of the season midway through the third to give the Blues a 5-1 lead.

Slaggert scored his first career goal with 3:09 left.

Krug left the game after the second period with an undisclosed injury. Bannister did not have an update after the game.

UP NEXT

Blackhawks: Host Nashville on Friday night.

Blues: Host Carolina on Friday night.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl