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Blackhawks blank Blues, 4-0

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CHICAGO (AP) - Corey Crawford stopped 23 shots for his second shutout this season, backstopping the Blackhawks to a physical 4-0 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night that gave Chicago coach Joel Quenneville his 700th NHL win.

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It was a costly victory for the Blackhawks, though. Leading scorer Patrick Kane left the game at 7:56 of the second period, favoring his left leg as he headed to the dressing room following a collision with Brenden Morrow.

Kane is expected to miss about three weeks, Quenneville said.

Duncan Keith, Andrew Shaw, Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith scored as Chicago ended the league-leading Blues' nine-game point streak (8-0-1) and dealt St. Louis its first regulation loss against a Central Division opponent this season. The Blues entered 20-0-2 against division foes and hadn't lost in regulation since a 1-0 defeat at Anaheim on Feb. 28.

Quenneville, who previously guided St. Louis and Colorado, has the most wins of any active NHL coach and ranks third all-time behind Al Arbour and Scotty Bowman, now the Blackhawks' senior adviser of hockey operations.

Crawford earned his 10th career shutout in Chicago's first win against the Blues this season after three losses.

Kane, who has 29 goals and 40 assists in 68 games, assisted on Keith's opening goal.

St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller lost in regulation for the first time since joining the Blues following a trade from Buffalo on Feb. 28. Miller, now 7-1-1 with St. Louis, was replaced by Brian Elliott at 7:58 of the third period after allowing four goals on 27 shots.

St. Louis needs one win to clinch a playoff spot for the 38th time in franchise history.

Defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago entered the game tied with Colorado for second in the Central Division and fourth in the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks have struggled this season against their top rivals in the Central. Chicago entered Wednesday's game with only one win and five points in eight games against St. Louis and Colorado.

Keith scored the only goal in a physical first period on a power play with 58 seconds left.

After taking Kane's feed, Keith fired a drive from the top of the slot that zipped past Miller's stick side just as Shaw provided a screen by cutting across the crease.

The play got tighter and grittier in the second, and Chicago took a 2-0 lead thanks to Shaw's goal on a deflection with 4:25 left in the period.

Shaw's goal capped a determined, physical flurry by Chicago.

The Blackhawks were jamming the net when Patrick Sharp picked up a loose puck and fed back to Nick Leddy at the blue line. Leddy's drive ticked off the shaft of Shaw's stick and past Miller as Shaw battled for position in front of the net with Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk threw a loose rebound behind Crawford during a St. Louis power play in the final seconds of the second, but the puck slid across the crease and to the far boards.

Kruger and Smith scored 2:15 apart in the third period to ice it for Chicago.

Following a long lead pass from defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson, Kruger took a quick feed from Peter Regin in the slot and beat Miller from just outside the crease at 5:20 to make it 3-0.

Smith's power-play goal at 7:35 extended Chicago's lead to 4-0. He connected from the doorstep after taking a feed from Kris Versteeg behind the net after Miller stopped Leddy's shot from the blue line.

Notes: Blackhawks C Michal Handzus played in his 1,000th NHL game and was honored in a pregame ceremony. He turned 37 last week. ... St. Louis RW Vladimir Tarasenko underwent surgery for a right hand injury sustained last Saturday at Nashville in the final minute of the game. He will be re-evaluated in six weeks. ... Blues RW T.J. Oshie returned to the lineup after missing one game for the birth of his first child. ... Chicago LW Brandon Saad sat out his second game with an upper-body injury and is day to day.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2014
The Associated Press
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