Ruining St. Louis’ fun is the best, isn’t it? There really is nothing better than spoiling a Blues victory, and that’s what the Blackhawks did Wednesday night with a 4-3 shootout win at the United Center.
Jonathan Toews scored scored his NHL career-high 35th goal then added the lone goal in the shootout for Chicago, which was eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday. Patrick Kane had a goal and an assist to set an NHL career high with 107 points.
The Blues remain one point back of the Jets and Predators, who are tied in points for the Central Division lead. The Jets and Predators each have two games remaining, and St. Louis is locked into the third spot in the Central.
Blackhawks backup goaltender Cam Ward made 37 saves in his 699th career NHL game between the Hurricanes and Chicago. With two games remaining and a back-to-back this weekend, it’s possible Ward plays his 700th game before the season ends.
Toews opened the scoring at 16:26 in the first period, scoring in front of the net off a slick backhanded pass from Kane. With that connection, Toews passed his 34th goal mark from 2008-09 and Kane tied his 2015-16 point total.
Noted Blackhawks killer Vladimir Tarasenko tied it 1-1 just 26 seconds into the second period, with a wrist shot from the left face-off circle on Ward’s glove side.
Artem Anisimov restored the Blackhawks’ lead almost 13 minutes later with his 15th goal of the season to match his jersey number. Anisimov deflected Dominik Kahun’s wrister from the blue line as Kahun tallied his 24th assist to match his jersey number, too. Because the narrative.
Kane surpassed his career high in points when he scored on a quick backhand against Blues goaltender Jake Allen for a 3-1 advantage at 11:39 of the third. Kane backhanded a sneaky shot on a breakaway that almost looked like it didn’t find the back of the net. The goal was confirmed after a video review.
David Perron scored less than a minute later on the power play from a Dylan Strome hooking penalty to bring the Blues within one at 3-2. St. Louis native Tyler Bozak roofed a backhand shot to tie it 3-3 with 38.9 seconds left in regulation.
After an uneventful overtime period proved to be not enough, the game went to a shootout, the fourth of the season for both Chicago and St. Louis.
Toews’ lone tally of the shootout moves him to 45 shootout goals in his 12-year career, which ties with Radim Vrbata for second all time. Kane sits tied for fifth with Mikko Koivu at 41 goals. Frans Nielson holds the record at 49 shootout goals.
Ward stopped Bozak, Ryan O’Reilly and Tarasenko in the shootout, pulling the Blackhawks kicking and screaming to a victory. The playoffs might be out of the picture, but beating the Blues never gets old.
The Blackhawks will play their home finale Friday when they host the Stars at the United Center.
3 Stars of the Game
- Patrick Kane (CHI) — 2 points (1G, 1A)
- Cam Ward (CHI) — 37 saves
- Jonathan Toews (CHI) — 1 goal