Jonathan Toews and Samuel Pahlsson each tallied in the first period as the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the St. Louis Blues, 3-1, at United Center.
Colin Fraser added a short-handed goal for Chicago, which recovered from a 4-1 setback at Montreal on Tuesday. The Blackhawks, who have won four of six overall, claimed their first win of the season over St. Louis (1-4-1). They now have 93 points and moved into a third-place tie with Vancouver in the Western Conference.
Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 16-of-17 shots for the Blackhawks.
Jeff Woywitka scored for the Blues, who had their five-game winning streak snapped. St. Louis remains in ninth place in the conference with 83 points and are one point behind Nashville and Anaheim for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. They are bidding for their first playoff appearance since the 2003-04 campaign.
Chris Mason, who was making his 28th straight start between the pipes, made 27 saves for St. Louis.
Chicago drew first blood when Toews lit the lamp with 8:15 left in the opening period. The Blackhawks centre took a pass from Martin Havlat along the right wing boards, skated into the low slot and slid the puck past Mason on the stick side to give the hosts the lead.
Pahlsson then made it a 2-0 game a little over four minutes later when he put one home from in close on a feed from Andrew Ladd from behind the net.
After a scoreless second period that saw the Blackhawks outshoot the Blues by a 10-4 margin, the hosts took a two-goal cushion into the intermission.
With Patrick Kane in the box serving a hooking minor late in the third, Chicago struck for a shorthanded tally. Fraser took a pass from Patrick Sharp and chipped a backhander that just got over the glove hand of Mason to up the hosts’ lead to 3-0 with 4:31 left in the contest.
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