Skip to Main Content

Blackhawks spoil Payne's coaching debut, beat Blues

by John Kreiser

The St. Louis Blues changed coaches on Saturday. The results stayed the same.

Hours after the Blues fired Andy Murray and named Davis Payne as their interim coach, Tomas Kopecky had the first two-goal game of his career in Chicago's 6-3 win over the Blues -- dropping St. Louis to 5-14-3 at the Scottrade Center.

"There's work to be done," said Payne, who was elevated from the team's AHL club in Peoria, Ill., earlier in the day. "It hurts in any language, in any league. It's disappointing."

Eric Brewer, Andy McDonald and Keith Tkachuk scored for the Blues, who lost their fifth in a row at home after failing to capitalize on a seven-minute power play in the first period. The Blues' home woes got Murray fired, and neither an 11th-straight sellout nor the coaching change made any difference.

The Blues' home problems are confounding for a team that has a superb 11-4-3 road record.

"There's no excuses for some of the mistakes we made and the odd-man rushes we gave them," forward David Backes said. "As much as six goals against hurts, they could have had a few more."

Patrick Sharp also scored twice as the Blackhawks ran off four unanswered goals to pull away from a 2-2 tie after one period. Chicago has won five of six and has 59 points, two behind San Jose for the most in the NHL.

Brian Campbell and Kris Versteeg also scored for Chicago. Kopecky also had an assist for the first three-point game of his NHL career.

"It always feels great when you score," Kopecky said. "It helps the team especially when you win. It was a great feeling."

St. Louis has lost five in a row overall and the six goals allowed matched a season worst. But Payne emphasized he's just getting started and has no theories on the team's home struggles.

"This is Game 1 for me," Payne said. "What's gone on in the past, certainly the more you dwell, the more you kind of lose traction. We simply need to focus on how we're going to gain traction."

Kopecky has 3 goals and 5 assists in 39 games -- but also had two assists in a victory over the Devils on Thursday while providing unexpected production from the fourth line. In 222 career games he has 15 goals and 40 points.

"Nice to see that line score a couple of goals early," coach Joel Quenneville said. "All of a sudden, you know you're going to have a good night. That got us going."

The Blackhawks had a 13-5 shots advantage in the second period. Campbell's fifth goal, a blast from the slot that ricocheted off at least two players, broke the tie at 3:15. Versteeg kept the puck on a 2-on-1 break before beating Ty Conklin on a shot just inside the post at 18:42.

The Blues got their long power play when defenseman Mike Weaver's perfect mid-ice hit flattened Sharp, leading to retaliation that saw Cam Barker get an instigator minor, a fighting major, a misconduct and a game misconduct. The Blues did get a goal at 16:05 with the teams skating 4-on-4 when McDonald was credited with his 13th of the season when Cristobal Huet's clearing attempt deflected off the forward's skate and into the net. But the power play generated nothing

"I got up and didn't know where the punches were coming from," Weaver said. "Everybody has to sacrifice their bodies. You could see the crowd was into it."

Sharp scored twice in a 2:03 span early in the third to blow the game open. Tkachuk got a painful power-play goal with 2:08 when T.J. Oshie's shot hit him in the head and went into the net.

The Blackhawks had a 12-3 advantage in shots over the first 13 minutes, including Kopecky's second and third goals of the season off assists from Colin Fraser. Backes assisted on Brewer's goal at 5:16 and McDonald's tally.

Material from wire services and team media was used in this report

View More

The NHL has updated its Privacy Policy effective January 16, 2020. We encourage you to review it carefully.

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.