CHICAGO (AP) — Kris Versteeg scored 59 seconds into the third period, Patrick Kane added two more goals, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-1 on Wednesday night for their fourth consecutive victory.
Marcus Kruger also scored for Chicago, and Antti Raanta had 40 saves in his first start since Corey Crawford was sidelined by a left foot injury. Versteeg also had the primary assist on each of Kane’s goals as the Blackhawks’ second line enjoyed another big performance.
Back at home after a 5-1 road trip, Chicago killed off each of St. Louis’ six power plays and won for the seventh time in eight games.
Ian Cole scored in the second for the Blues, who had won four of five. Jake Allen made 29 saves.
Martin Brodeur was the backup to Allen in St. Louis’ first game since the NHL’s winningest goalie signed a one-year contract on Tuesday.
The line of Versteeg, Brad Richards and Kane has played a key role in the Blackhawks’ resurgence. Versteeg has four goals and 10 assists in his last eight games, and Kane has eight goals and seven assists in his last nine games.
Versteeg put Chicago in front for good when he one-timed a pass from Jonathan Toews into the lower right side of the net for his eighth of the season. He then made a pair of nice passes to Kane to help the Blackhawks put the game away.
Kane beat Allen to the stick side at 2:47 of the third. He added his 12th goal when he made a terrific move to get past defenseman Barret Jackman before sliding a shot between Allen’s legs at 5:19.
Crawford had made 14 consecutive starts, but he hurt his left foot when he missed a step while leaving a recent concert and is expected to be sidelined two to three weeks. Crawford said Wednesday he was embarrassed and frustrated, but declined to reveal any further details about what happened. He said he is focused on returning quickly.
Crawford’s injury put Raanta in goal for the first time since he had 28 saves in a 3-2 loss at St. Louis on Oct. 25. It was just his fourth appearance of the season.
The Blues, trying for their third consecutive win, got off to a fast start, with Cole and Alex Pietrangelo shooting pucks off the post in the first 6:45. St. Louis had three power plays in the first period, but Chicago killed them.
The Blackhawks jumped in front when Brandon Saad stole the puck from Cole near center ice and started a 2-on-1 rush with a pass to Kruger, who beat Allen for his fourth goal at 15:57.
St. Louis used a delayed penalty to tie it at 1 in the second. With the Blues enjoying a 6-on-5 skating advantage, Patrik Berglund passed to an open Cole on the right side for his second goal at 12:38. The Blues outshot the Blackhawks 13-7 in the period.
NOTES: Brodeur tops the NHL’s career lists for wins (688), games played (1,259), losses (394) and shutouts (124), all with New Jersey. … Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook played 25 minutes after he missed practice on Tuesday due to an illness. … In addition to Crawford, the Blackhawks scratched D Adam Clendening and F Jeremy Morin. … St. Louis scratched forwards Joakim Lindstrom and Magnus Paajarvi.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap
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