The Blackhawks rallied in the final minute of regulation and rookie Patrick Kane scored in the first minute of overtime for a 4-3 win over St. Louis before 19,146 at the United Center Sunday. The win moved the Hawks within four points of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Kane also assisted on Dustin Byfuglien's goal midway through the 3rd period to tie a Hawks record for assists by a rookie shared by current coach Denis Savard and Steve Larmer (47). The goal was his 4th game-winner this season and moved him one point ahead of Washington's Nicklas Backstrom in the rookie points race.
Kane's winning goal came when he in banged in a rebound off a long shot by Hjalmarsson at 1:09 of the extra frame for his 18th of the season.
Two other Hawks rookies, Troy Brouwer and Nicklas Hjalmarsson, each picked up their first NHL points on crucial assists in the game.
Chicago's comeback in regulation came 23 seconds after Keith Tkachuk put the Blues ahead 3-2 at 18:42. Kane couldn't handle a bouncing puck at the St. Louis blue line as a Hawk power play ended and Tkachuk had a breakaway to beat Nikolai Khabibulin with his 22nd goal.
The Hawks controlled the ensuing faceoff and were attempting to pull Khabibulin for an extra attacker as they moved the puck into the Blues' zone. Andrew Ladd fed a pass to Patrick Sharp and the team's top goal scorer saw defenseman James Wisniewski breaking up the slot. Wisniewski blasted a 35-footer past Hannu Toivonen for his 7th of the campaign and his first in 18 games to tie the game 3-3 at 19:05.
Neither team scored in the 1st period with Sharp having two good opportunities while Khabibulin made key stops on Jay McClement and Jamal Mayers.
In the 2nd period, Lee Stempniak, who has 10 career goals against the Hawks, was denied on a 20-footer at 4:30, but broke the scoreless tie at 7:55 when he fired a 30-footer past Khabibulin for his 13th goal.
Midway through the frame, Sharp, who led all shooters with five, was stopped twice by Toivonen before the Hawks tied the game.
On an unusual play at 17:34, Brouwer, called up from Rockford to replace Robert Lang (back), broke into the Blues' zone and moved behind the net. He flipped the puck out in front where it hit Adam Burish's skate, then went off defender Barret Jackman's stick and the the goalie's glove into the net. After a brief video review, Burish was credited with his 2nd NHL goal and first since January 22.
Just before the end of the period in a shorthanded situation, Khabibulin kicked out a breakaway attempt by David Backes.
The score remained tied early in the 3rd period with Khabibulin stopping close-in shots by Jeff Woywitka and David Perron.
The Hawks took the lead at 9:10 when Kane and Jonathan Toews outbattled Erik Johnson for the puck and Kane gave Byfuglien a perfect pass for his 18th goal and a 2-1 lead.
St. Louis came back to tie the game two minutes later when D.J. King's skate deflected a shot by Backes past Khabibulin.
The Hawks outshot the Blues 31-29 and were 0-6 on the power play while St. Louis was 0-4. Chicago leads the season series 4-3.
With only 6 games remaining the Hawks head to Columbus Wednesday and St. Louis Saturday before returning to the United Center next Sunday to host the Blue Jackets (6 pm).
AP Notes: Kane tied the Blackhawks' rookie record for assist in a season with his 47th, joining coach Denis Savard (1980-81) and Steve Larmer (1982-83). ... Dan Hinote, Martin Rucinsky and Jay McKee were scratches for St. Louis. Chicago didn't have Robert Lang, Martin Havlat, Cam Barker, Andrei Zyuzin, Ben Eager or Yanic Perreault in the lineup. ... Former Blackhawks goalie Murray Bannerman dropped the ceremonial puck.