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Schwartz, Elliott lead Blues to 3-1 win over Blackhawks and home ice for 1st round

Saturday, 04.27.2013 / 10:55 PM / News

The Canadian Press

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Schwartz, Elliott lead Blues to 3-1 win over Blackhawks and home ice for 1st round

ST. LOUIS - Brian Elliott made 22 saves and Jaden Schwartz had his first two-goal game as the St. Louis Blues earned home-ice advantage for the first-round of the playoffs by defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 3-1 Saturday night.

The Blues won 12 of their last 15 games to capture fourth place in the Western Conference.

After searching all season for a solution in the nets, the Blues settled on Elliott for the stretch run and he delivered. Elliott allowed just 16 goals in April on 305 shots (.948 save percentage). He led the league in April with 11 wins and a 1.28 goals-against average.

Elliott and the Blues were helped by facing a Chicago lineup that was devoid of almost every regular. Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane all sat out for the Blackhawks, who had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the playoffs.

Saturday's set back was just the second for the Blackhawks this month (10-2-2) as Chicago finished 36-7-5 to wrap up its second Presidents' Trophy.

Chicago even brought up career minor league goalie Carter Hutton to make his NHL debut. Hutton, who has been in the minors since signing in 2003 with the Thunder Bay Golden Hawks, made 25 saves.

Ben Smith, who was playing in his first game of the season, scored for Chicago.

The two-goal game was the first of Schwartz's career. Patrik Berglund also scored for St. Louis and David Backes had two assists to give him 300 points for his career.

Berglund broke the ice with his 17th goal just 4:33 into the game as he put home a rebound of Andy McDonald's shot. Schwartz made it 2-0 at 17:24 of the first period when he swatted home the puck during a scramble in front.

Schwartz gave the Blues a three-goal cushion midway through the second period, when he broke down right wing and put a backhander past Hutton at the 8:39 mark.

NOTES: Blues defenceman Jay Bouwmeester played in 635th straight game, which is the longest iron man streak in the league. ... The Blues won their last six home games; the last time St. Louis had a six-game home winning streak was Dec. 6-26, 2011.

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What we expected is what we got. Very mature young individual that's focused. He is on the right track. He's not only a great hockey individual, but he's a good person off the ice. He seemed to take a leadership role with this group right off the hop and ran away with it, and was vocal, was respectful, was everything it takes to be a Panther. His future looks bright.

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