for this game

Vrbata keys third-period rally as Blackhawks top Blues

Dec 13, 2006 - 3:50 AM
ST. LOUIS (Ticker) -- Radim Vrbata treated Andy Murray to a forgettable coaching debut with the St. Louis Blues.

Vrbata scored the go-ahead power-play goal in the third period as the Chicago Blackhawks held on for a 3-2 triumph over the Blues.

It was the second consecutive victory for the Blackhawks, who improved to 5-0-3 under new coach Denis Savard. The first-year coach was thrilled to see his team go 2-for-3 on the power play in the final session Tuesday.

"We've struggled all year (on the power play)," he said. "So I'm glad our guys came through to get us a win."

Conversely, the once-proud Blues have floundered over the last 1 1/2 seasons and currently are mired in an eight-game losing streak. St. Louis president John Davidson decided it was time for a change on Monday, firing Mike Kitchen and naming Murray the team's new coach.

"We arrived at practice this morning and suddenly had a new system to learn," veteran center Doug Weight said. "But, we're excited about where we're going. We have to get there sooner or later, obviously."

The change appeared to have a good effect as the Blues entered the third period with a 1-0 lead. But the Blackhawks tallied three times over a span of 2 minutes, 4 seconds to take control.

"I saw some things we did well and some things we need to work on, obviously," Murray said. "I saw some great efforts and I saw some players that I think need to give a little bit more."

Chicago forged a 1-1 tie at 3:22 of the final session on the first goal this season by Peter Bondra, who netted his 499th career tally in his Blackhawks debut.

"There's so much excitement for me the last couple of days, I don't even think about the milestone," said Bondra, who signed with the club Sunday. "I was afraid I would change the chemistry of the team, but I guess we took it well and thanks to all the guys who helped me."

"We've got some pretty good tools now," Savard added. "Bondra is a good threat."

The Blackhawks took the lead for good 30 seconds later when Vrbata took a feed from defenseman Duncan Keith and wristed a shot from the left faceoff circle past rookie goaltender Marek Schwarz to make it 2-1.

"We have played well," Vrbata said. "But it's been so hard on the power play, so a night like this was really good for us."

It was the sixth goal this season for Vrbata, who also assisted on Jeff Hamilton's insurance tally at 5:26. After the Blues committed a costly turnover in their own zone, Vrbata took a pass from Patrick Sharp in the left circle and centered the puck to Hamilton, who rifled a shot from the slot past Schwarz for his eighth goal.

The Blackhawks provided just enough support for netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, who turned aside 19 shots to improve to 13-12-0 with two ties all-time against the Blues.

Schwarz stopped 21 shots in his NHL debut, while Weight and defenseman Christian Backman tallied for St. Louis, which has a total of just 14 goals during its eight-game skid.

"It helped me because now I know what I have to work on," said Schwarz, the Blues' first-round draft pick in 2004. "I was happy with the first two periods, but I have to play better."








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 0 3 3
    ST LOUIS 0 1 1 2 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: STL - CHRISTIAN BACKMAN 2 (PETR CAJANEK, MARTIN RUCINSKY)
    15:18
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) PETER BONDRA 1 (JAMES WISNIEWSKI, TUOMO RUUTU)
    3:22
    CHI - (PP) RADIM VRBATA 6 (DUNCAN KEITH, BRENT SEABROOK)
    3:52
    CH

    Dec 12 10:34 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 3
    ST LOUIS 2
    3RD PRD: STL - (PP) DOUG WEIGHT 2 (BILL GUERIN, CHRISTIAN BACKMAN)
    18:33

    Blackhawks vs. BluesDec 12 10:31 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 3
    ST LOUIS 1
    3RD PRD: CHI - JEFF HAMILTON 8 (RADIM VRBATA, PATRICK SHARP) 5:26

    Blackhawks vs. BluesDec 12 10:05 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 2
    ST LOUIS 1
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) RADIM VRBATA 6 (DUNCAN KEITH, BRENT SEABROOK) 3:52
    (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Blackhawks vs. BluesDec 12 10:02 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 1
    ST LOUIS 1
    3RD PRD: CHI - (PP) PETER BONDRA 1 (JAMES WISNIEWSKI, TUOMO RUUTU)
    3:22 (WITH EXTRA ATTACKER)

    Blackhawks vs. BluesDec 12 10:01 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 0 0
    ST LOUIS 0 1 1 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    2ND PRD: STL - CHRISTIAN BACKMAN 2 (PETR CAJANEK, MARTIN RUCINSKY)
    15:18
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHI 7 10 17
    STL 3 13 16
    GOALIES:

    Dec 12 9:36 PM


  • NHL
    CHICAGO 0
    ST LOUIS 1
    2ND PRD: STL - CHRISTIAN BACKMAN 2 (PETR CAJANEK, MARTIN RUCINSKY)
    15:18

    Blackhawks vs. BluesDec 12 9:28 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHICAGO 0 0
    ST LOUIS 0 0 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: NONE
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    CHI 7 7
    STL 3 3
    GOALIES: CHI - NIKOLAI KHABIBULIN
    STL - MAREK SCHWARZ

    Dec 12 8:43 PM