Patrik Berglund’s hat trick Friday night lifted the St. Louis Blues to a 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center in Chicago, earning them a one-point lead over Colorado for the final Western Conference playoff spot.
St. Louis snapped a four-game losing streak with its 44th win of the season, giving it 94 points. The Blues close the season Saturday night in Colorado, where a win or an overtime/shootout loss will enable them to make their seventh straight playoff appearance. A regulation loss would eliminate St. Louis.
Berglund’s tie-breaking goal came 16 seconds after Chicago’s Erik Gustafsson had tied the score with his fifth goal of the season on a wrister from the left circle that beat Carter Hutton to the short side at 8:08 of the third period.
Robert Bortuzzo’s point shot deflected off Kyle Brodziak and right to Berglund at the left post, and he wristed it past J-F Berube.
Jaden Schwartz tacked on his 23rd goal on a wrister at 12:40 to give the Blues some insurance. The tally snapped a seven-game scoreless drought for Schwartz.
Berglund capped the second hat trick of his career with an empty-netter, his 17th marker of the season, at 18:49. He won a puck battle with Duncan Keith along the right boards and chipped a backhander from just inside the blue line that rolled just inside the right post.
St. Louis controlled the game most of the night, outshooting the Blackhawks 35-20 and outhitting them 24-8. The Blues could have owned a 2-0 lead early, but failed to convert on point-blank chances with open nets staring at them.
Berglund put them ahead 1-0 at 18:17 of the first period when he deflected a point blast from Joel Edmundson in the high slot. The puck rolled inside the right post as Berube couldn’t react to it in time.
Hutton made his first start in a month as starter Jake Allen rested for Saturday night’s showdown and made 19 saves. Berube stopped 31 of 34 shots.
--Field Level Media