Patrick Kane’s OT goal lifts Blackhawks past Blues
CHICAGO — When the Chicago Blackhawks gave up the go-ahead goal late in the third period, it appeared any hope of postseason play disappeared with the lead.
Patrick Kane and James Wisniewski made sure that didn’t happen.
Kane scored 1:09 into overtime after Wisniewski tied it in the final minute of regulation and the Blackhawks boosted their playoff hopes with a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.
With six games left in the regular season, Chicago is four points behind Colorado for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot. The Blackhawks haven’t been to the postseason since 2002.
“They know what it takes to win, to battle,” Chicago coach Denis Savard said of Kane, a leading candidate for rookie of the year, and Wisniewski, who scored his first goal in 18 games. “Whether we get there (the playoffs) of not, they’ll prove a lot of people wrong.”
Kane scored off a rebound of Niklas Hjalmarsson’s shot from the left point, jamming the puck inside the left post past Hannu Toivonen. It was Kane’s 18th goal and fourth against St. Louis.
“I thought the shot was going wide, and it was right there,” said Kane, who leads all rookies with 65 points. “It was good to jam it in.”
The Blues went 1-7-1 on their season-high nine-game road trip, almost assuring they won’t make the playoffs in three straight seasons for the first time in the franchise’s 41-year history.
“We’ve competed in every game with the exception of one,” Blues coach Andy Murray said. “Our team competes hard on a nightly basis.
“What we need to do is find a way to turn these losses into wins, because our compete level is pretty strong.”
St. Louis has not played at home since March 4, and its 11-20-7 road record is the worst in the West.
Adam Burish and Dustin Byfuglien also scored and Nikolai Khabibulin made 26 saves for the Blackhawks. Lee Stempniak, D.J. King and Keith Tkachuk scored for the Blues.
These teams will meet for the final time this season on Saturday. Savard, though, was upset about the Blues going after some of his young players.
“We’ve got two young kids playing their hearts out,” he said referring to Kane and Jonathan Toews, who had an assist. “Cheap shots, behind the neck, behind the back, after whistles. We don’t need that in our game.”
Both teams combined for four goals in the final 10:50 of regulation. Byfuglien scored his 18th goal at 9:10 when he took a pass from Kane and snapped a shot past Toivonen to make it 2-1.
St. Louis tied it 2:09 later when David Backes’ shot from the right point deflected off King’s skate in front of Khabibulin.
The Blues grabbed a 3-2 lead with 1:18 to play on a miscue by Kane, who had the puck stripped by Brad Boyes in front of the St. Louis bench. He then fed Tkachuk, who scored on a breakaway for his 23rd goal.
Wisniewski made it 3-3 just 23 seconds later, beating Toivonen from the high slot for his seventh goal.
“I don’t think I’ve scored a bigger goal,” he said.
Both teams traded goals in the second. With 12:05 to play, Stempniak beat Khabibulin for his 13th goal and fourth in as many games against Chicago.
That also ended Khabibulin’s home shutout streak at 197 minutes, 28 seconds since Jan. 24.
Khabibulin’s shutout run in Chicago was the longest by a Blackhawks goalie since Ed Belfour blanked the opposition for 195 minutes, 33 seconds in November 1991, according to STATS, LLC.
The Blackhawks scored less than 10 minutes later. Troy Brouwer, recalled from Rockford of the AHL before the game, carried the puck behind the net and threw it off Burish’s skate.
It was Burish’s second goal of the season and first since Jan. 22.
Notes: Kane tied the Blackhawks’ rookie record for assists 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. … A crowd of 19,146 turned out on Easter.