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Blackhawks fend off Blues rally
CHICAGO -- Duncan Keith, Ben Eager, Bryan Bickell and Kris Versteeg scored in a 3:08 span in the first period and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 6-5 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory.
Andrew Ladd and Jordan Hendry also scored to help Chicago reach a franchise-record 109 points and tie San Jose for first place in the Western Conference.
Versteeg added three assists to set a career high for points in a game and become the first Chicago player to have a four-point game this season.
David Perron, Roman Polak, Brad Winchester, T.J. Oshie and Brad Boyes scored for the Blues, who nearly overcame a 6-1 deficit. St. Louis played its first game after being eliminated from playoff contention Tuesday night when Colorado beat Vancouver.
Blues forward Keith Tkachuk announced his retirement before the game. The 38-year-old Tkachuk played his 1,200th game Monday night, but was scratched Wednesday night because of a lower-body injury. He will play his final home game Friday night.
Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa left the game after one shift in the second period because of an unknown injury.
Hossa appeared to have sustained the injury after being hit and knocked to the ice by Winchester at 8:07 of the first. Hossa played several shifts after the incident.
Chicago goalie Antti Niemi made 26 saves in his seventh straight start and 10th in the last 11 games.
St. Louis starter Chris Mason was replaced by Ty Conklin 7:43 into the first after allowing three goals on four shots. Conklin gave up three goals on 22 shots.
Perron opened the scoring 4:22 in with his 20th goal, scoring on a rebound when he was left open at the edge of the crease.
Then the Blackhawks scored four goals on six shots in just over 3 minutes.
Keith tied it at 1-1 at 6:17 when he pinched into the left circle and completed a give-and-go with Versteeg during a 4-on-4.
Just under a minute later, Eager banged in a loose puck from the crease to make it 2-1. Bickell scored 30 seconds later and sent Mason to the bench when his screened 45-foot shot from the left boards sailed over Mason's glove into the top corner.