The Chicago Blackhawks are finding ways to win games in the third period.
They'll try to make things a little easier on themselves Friday night when they host the slumping St. Louis Blues as both teams continue a stretch of eight consecutive games against Central Division rivals.
The Blackhawks (8-7-0) are among the league leaders with 21 of their 44 goals coming in the third period, contributing to all seven of their regulation wins, including a 3-2 victory at St. Louis (7-6-0) on Saturday.
Chicago did it again Wednesday, getting goals from Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith in a 3:57 span of the third to defeat Columbus 5-2.
"We find different ways to win," Blackhawks coach Denis Savard said. "I thought we could have put them away in the second period and had lots of chances. We stuck with the game plan and our character showed up."
Patrick Sharp, who scored the final goal against the Blue Jackets with 11.2 seconds left, powered the Blackhawks' win over the Blues on Saturday with two short-handed goals in the third. The right wing's last four goals - two game-winners - have all come in the final period and Chicago is 5-0-0 when he scores.
His six goals are tied with Toews, Robert Lang and Jason Williams for the team lead.
Toews, who added an assist Wednesday for his first career multipoint game, has registered at least one point in 12 of 13 contests. The rookie center saw his season-opening 10-game point streak stopped Saturday in St. Louis.
Nikolai Khabibulin could return in goal after sitting out against Columbus and watching backup Patrick Lalime make 24 saves. Khabibulin was pulled in the first period of his last start Sunday after allowing three goals on six shots in a 5-2 loss to Nashville.
He made 20 stops against the Blues Saturday and had 23 saves in a 3-1 home loss to St. Louis on Oct. 17 in the first meeting between the teams this season.
That victory capped a season-high four-game winning streak for the Blues, but they've since gone 3-5-0 and started their eight-game stretch against Central teams with two losses, including 3-0 at Columbus on Sunday.
St. Louis has struggled on the power play recently, going 1-for-28 in the last six games. That span includes an 0-for-5 performance in Saturday's loss to Chicago after the unit went 2-for-3 at the United Center on Oct. 17.
Paul Kariya, who was held without a point for just the third time this season Sunday, has scored a goal in both games against the Blackhawks. He has 27 goals and 62 points in 55 meetings with Chicago, his second-highest totals against any team.
The Blackhawks lost center Kevyn Adams for the season after he tore ligaments in his left knee Wednesday while being checked into the boards.