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Blues win 3-2 to spoil Hawks' return home

by Brian Compton

A terrific stretch late in the second period paced the St. Louis Blues to an impressive victory on Wednesday night.

David Backes scored twice and Jay McClement also scored in the final 8:26 of the second as the Blues skated away with a 3-2 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at the UnitedCenter. Chris Mason made 32 saves for St. Louis, which won for the first time in three meetings with Chicago this season and improved to 8-5-3 under interim coach Davis Payne.

"We're seeing a little bit more of the up-tempo play. He's obviously got a little youthful energy himself and we're playing more as a team and for longer, more-consistent periods," Backes said. "We were in a shell a lot before that and he's done a great job motivating us and been able to get us all on the same page and playing as a team."

The Hawks were playing their first home game following an eight-game road trip. But they showed no sign of a hangover early on. Patrick Kane gave Chicago a 1-0 lead just 2:40 into the game, as he beat Mason on a breakaway for his 22nd goal of the season. The Blues were held to just three shots on goal in the first period.

The Blues pulled even when Backes notched his first goal of the night at 11:34 of the second when he took a pass from behind the net by Paul Kariya and ripped a shot from the right circle past Cristobal Huet (16 saves) to make it 1-1. Backes then put St. Louis in front with a power-play tally at 18:29, beating Huet between the legs from the left circle for his 13th goal of the season.

"It has always been a tradition that anybody coming off an extended trip that the first game back is always challenging," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was kind of a frustrating game."

McClement gave the Blues a two-goal lead before the end of the period as he redirected Roman Polak's shot past Huet with only 22 seconds left. It was his eighth goal of the season.

"Our offense came alive in the second half of the second period. The third period they came us really hard and we did a good job and survived," Mason said.

Chicago outshot St. Louis 14-7 in the third period, but only Marian Hossa got a puck past Mason as the star forward scored shorthanded at 4:16 off a feed from Jonathan Toews. It was Hossa's fourth shorthanded goal this season.

"I think things are getting better for that team," Kane said of the Blues. "They could be dangerous down the stretch here."

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

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