ST. LOUIS (AP) — Jaden Schwartz missed the final seven minutes of the first period after taking a big hit and going head-first into the boards. He shook it off in a big way for the St. Louis Blues.
Back for the start of the second period, Schwartz ended up with his third career hat trick to help the Blues beat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Wednesday night.
“My toe pick caught a rivet on the ice,” Schwartz said. “Just happened fast, head-first into the boards and couldn’t get my hands up.”
Schwartz has four goals and six assists this season and has at least one point in six of the Blues’ first seven games. It was his 51st career multi-point game and fourth this season.
“This is a guy who is hitting his prime and I think in the last year or so he’s just starting to scratch the surface and realize how good he can be,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said.
Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Kyle Brodziak also scored, and Jake Allen made 22 saves, including a dazzling stick save on Patrick Kane who was wide open on the side of the net midway through the third period.
“I just had to try to put something over there and I got my stick inside the post so I had some strength on it to hold it out,” Allen said.
The Blues snapped a two-game losing streak.
“I think we did a good job of taking away their time and space,” Schwartz said. “They have a lot of skilled players and you don’t want to give them a whole lot of time and at the same time I thought we did a good job of hemming them in their zone and creating chances that way.”
Duncan Keith and Ryan Hartman had late goals for Blackhawks, and Corey Crawford made 28 saves.
“It was a bad start,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It was a bad middle. It wasn’t very good. Even a little exciting at the end, but that wasn’t very good. That was as close to brutal as you can get.”
Schwartz opened the scoring at 4:46 of the first period, tucking in a backhander off Tarasenko’s feed.
Schwartz left the game eight minutes later after crashing into the boards on a partial short-handed break.
Schwartz gave the Blues a 2-0 lead at 5:59 of the second. Allen’s outlet pass off the boards created a 2-on-1 with Schwartz and Sammy Blais. It was Allen’s fourth career assist.
“The puck was coming real slow so I had a chance to look around,” Allen said. “We had a couple guys changing and I saw (Brent) Seabrook come in and it gave me a chance. If I didn’t get good wood on it, it could have been ugly, but I just tried to put it in an area for him.”
Tarasenko made it 3-0 two minutes later, scoring his fifth of the season by stripping Artem Anisimov in front of the Chicago net.
St. Louis outshot Chicago 26-8 in the first two periods, including 17-4 in the second. The four shots in each of the first two periods were a season low for the Blackhawks in a period.
Brodziak scored at 7:01 of the third. It was the first time this season the Blues’ third or fourth line scored.
“We know how much pressure that puts on the top guys,” Brodziak said. “As a bottom six group, we feel like we’re capable of contributing more.”
After Keith and Hartman scored for Chicago, Schwartz completed the hat trick with an empty-net goal.
NOTES: Blackhawks television analyst Eddie Olczyk, who is battling colon cancer, received a standing ovation from the crowd of 18,752 after being recognized late in the first period. Olczyk was back in the booth for the first time since his diagnosis in August. … Blues F Alexander Steen (broken left hand) was activated from injured reserve and made his season debut. To make room, the Blues waived F Wade Megan. … Blues F Paul Stastny is one point shy of 600 for his career. … Blackhawks C Nick Schmaltz (upper body) returned after missing four games.
Blackhawks: Host Edmonton on Thursday night.
Blues: At Colorado on Thursday night.
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