Jake Allen stopped 38 shots and the St. Louis Blues edged the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 on Sunday to move into first place in the Central Division.
David Backes and Olli Jokinen each scored in the second period for the Blues, who have won three straight and leapfrogged Nashville in the division standings. They are one point ahead of the Predators and hold a three-point lead on the Blackhawks with three games remaining for each club.
“Our division is pretty crazy when you look at the standings, see how tight three teams are, but (just take it) one game at a time,” Allen said.
St. Louis played its fourth straight game without Alexander Steen and third in a row without Vladimir Tarasenko. Both forwards are day-to-day because of lower-body injuries.
Corey Crawford made 31 saves for Chicago, which had its winning streak snapped at four games.
“We’re definitely disappointed with the outcome, but we still got some things to sort out this week and see how it plays out,” said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.
Chicago had a chance early in the game, but Allen turned away Bryan Bickell on a 2-on-0 rush.
The Blackhawks did open the scoring with 5:48 left in the first period. Kris Versteeg tapped in a feed from Marian Hossa following a turnover by T.J. Oshie in the St. Louis zone.
Backes tied it with a power-play goal at 6:07 of the second period. A shot by Kevin Shattenkirk from the point was deflected to Jaden Schwartz, who dished the puck to Backes for an easy tap-in from the doorstep.
Crawford denied Paul Stastny on a breakaway and stopped his two follow-up chances to keep the score tied with about 11 minutes to go in the second.
Jokinen gave St. Louis a 2-1 lead with 4:48 remaining in the second. Jori Lehtera won a faceoff in the Chicago zone and Alex Pietrangelo launched a shot from the point. The puck hit Ty Rattie at the side of the net and went right to Jokinen, who scored into an open net.
Hossa rang a shot off the post just over a minute later.
Allen made 12 saves in the third period to help St. Louis end a losing streak at United Center. Including last year’s opening-round playoff series, the Blues had dropped six straight in Chicago.