for this game

Blackhawks end losing streak against punchless Blues

Feb 26, 2007 - 2:01 AM
CHICAGO (Ticker) -- Bryan Smolinski and captain Adrian Aucoin made the most of what may have been their last game as members of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Rumored to be on the block as the NHL trade deadline approaches, Smolinski had a goal and an assist and Aucoin also tallied as the Blackhawks halted their five-game losing streak with a 5-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

Martin Havlat scored a goal and set up two others for Chicago, which took advantage of a downtrodden St. Louis team. Prior to the game, the Blues traded veteran power forward Keith Tkachuk to the Atlanta Thrashers, ending the left wing's 5 1/2-season tenure with the club.

"You have to park those feelings and thoughts when you get here, you have a job to do," St. Louis goaltender Curtis Sanford said.

"I refuse to accept that as an excuse," Blues coach Andy Murray said of the trade. "We talked during our timeout in the first period on how everyone would be willing to give us excuses today because of the trade. You just have to fight through something like that."

Bill Guerin, the Blues' lone All-Star this season who also could be moved by Tuesday's 3 p.m. EST deadline, did not understand why St. Louis came out flat.

"It shouldn't have been tough to play today, but I guess it was," he said. "I've been hearing it for two weeks that I'm going somewhere. All you can do is accept that something might happen."

Chicago capitalized on St. Louis' fragile emotional state early, scoring three times in the first 14 minutes of the contest. Aucoin and Smolinski, two of a number of Blackhawks rumored to be dealt by Tuesday's deadline, each tallied during the stretch, with the defenseman's goal coming on a power play.

"There is no good way to go out, that's why the call it an ending," Smolinski said. "(The rumors) affect you. It affects everyone, my family, and I have kids here in school. It's tough."

Aucoin has been rumored to be on his way to the Montreal Canadiens but does not believe he will be traded.

"I don't think I'm going anywhere," Aucoin said. "That's my gut feeling. I know there are some rumors about me out there, I think some of my friends started them. Some of my friends have almost rented me an apartment already in Montreal."

Lee Stempniak gave the Blues a bit of a spark with his second goal in as many games with 1:38 to go in the middle session, but Havlat extinguished it 16 seconds later with his 24th of the season, giving the Blackhawks a 4-1 advantage.

Smolinski and Peter Bondra were called for penalties with 4:36 to go in the third, giving St. Louis a 5-on-3 power play for a full two minutes. Murray gave his team an even bigger advantage by pulling goaltender Jason Bacashihua for an extra attacker, but the move backfired as Patrick Sharp fired the puck into an empty net from his own zone with 3:16 left to seal the win.

Defenseman Duncan Keith also scored and Nikolai Khabibulin made 22 saves for Chicago, which concluded the season series with St. Louis at 5-3-0.

"It was nice to get rewarded," Chicago coach Denis Savard said. "We worked hard right from the start. That is something we have been emphasizing, better starts."

"A win like this shows this team never quits," said Blackhawks right wing Martin Lapointe, who also is rumored to be on his way out of Chicago. "We played hard the whole night, even though we got too many penalties."

After Sanford allowed four goals on 11 shots over two periods, Bacashihua stopped all five shots he faced in the third for the Blues, who had their four-game winning streak snapped.

"I just wasn't doing my job playing the puck," Sanford said. "That's what happens when you do that - the puck will wind up in your net. That's basically what happened on all four of their goals."

"It was a big game for us, with two points on the line," Murray said. "We need to be better in every position - coaching, goaltending, offense, defense. We simply didn't get the job done today."

Keith gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 6:07 of the first period with his first goal in 14 games, shooting a floater from high along the left wing boards that sneaked between the pads of Sanford.

Aucoin doubled the advantage 2:45 later with a slap shot from above the right faceoff circle that beat Sanford to the glove side, and Smolinski made it 3-0 with 6:01 remaining in the opening session by burying his own rebound from the low slot.

"It was great to get off to a good start," Havlat said. "I wish we could have played the whole game like we played the first 10 minutes."

Khabibulin kept St. Louis off the board by stopping Peter Sejna's breakaway attempt early in the second, but Stempniak broke through late in the period by banging in a loose puck in front. But Havlat answered moments later as defenseman Brent Seabrook's backhand pass from the bottom of the left circle caromed in off the All-Star for a 4-1 bulge.








  • NHL
    FINAL 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ST LOUIS 0 1 0 1
    CHICAGO 3 1 1 5 FINAL
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 2 (JEFF HAMILTON) 6:07
    CHI - (PP) ADRIAN AUCOIN 4 (RADIM VRBATA, MARTIN HAVLAT)
    8:52
    CHI - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 14 (TUOMO RUUTU, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:59
    2ND PRD: STL - LEE STEMPNIAK 19 (CHRISTIAN BACKMAN,

    Feb 25 5:31 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 1
    CHICAGO 5
    3RD PRD: CHI - (SH) (EN) PATRICK SHARP 11 (UNASSISTED) 16:44

    Blues vs. BlackhawksFeb 25 5:26 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 2ND 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ST LOUIS 0 1 1
    CHICAGO 3 1 4 END OF THE 2ND
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 2 (JEFF HAMILTON) 6:07
    CHI - (PP) ADRIAN AUCOIN 4 (RADIM VRBATA, MARTIN HAVLAT)
    8:52
    CHI - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 14 (TUOMO RUUTU, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:59
    2ND PRD: STL - LEE STEMPNIAK 19 (CHRIST

    Feb 25 4:39 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 1
    CHICAGO 4
    2ND PRD: CHI - MARTIN HAVLAT 24 (BRENT SEABROOK, BRYAN SMOLINSKI)
    18:38

    Blues vs. BlackhawksFeb 25 4:38 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 1
    CHICAGO 3
    2ND PRD: STL - LEE STEMPNIAK 19 (CHRISTIAN BACKMAN, BARRET JACKMAN)
    18:22

    Blues vs. BlackhawksFeb 25 4:38 PM


  • NHL
    END OF THE 1ST 1ST 2ND 3RD TOTAL
    --- --- --- -----
    ST LOUIS 0 0
    CHICAGO 3 3 END OF THE 1ST
    GOAL SCORING:
    1ST PRD: CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 2 (JEFF HAMILTON) 6:07
    CHI - (PP) ADRIAN AUCOIN 4 (RADIM VRBATA, MARTIN HAVLAT)
    8:52
    CHI - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 14 (TUOMO RUUTU, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:59
    SHOTS ON GOAL: 1ST 2ND 3RD TO

    Feb 25 3:47 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 0
    CHICAGO 3
    1ST PRD: CHI - BRYAN SMOLINSKI 14 (TUOMO RUUTU, MARTIN HAVLAT) 13:59

    Blues vs. BlackhawksFeb 25 3:35 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 0
    CHICAGO 2
    1ST PRD: CHI - (PP) ADRIAN AUCOIN 4 (RADIM VRBATA, MARTIN HAVLAT) 8:52

    Blues vs. BlackhawksFeb 25 3:25 PM


  • NHL
    ST LOUIS 0
    CHICAGO 1
    1ST PRD: CHI - DUNCAN KEITH 2 (JEFF HAMILTON) 6:07

    Blues vs. BlackhawksFeb 25 3:16 PM