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Halak makes 30 saves as Blues whip Hawks 4-1

by John Kreiser /
All Jaroslav Halak has to do to become a fan favorite in St. Louis is to keep doing what he did Thursday.

Halak, acquired from Montreal after leading the Canadiens to the Eastern Conference Finals last spring, stopped 30 shots for his first home win as he led the Blues to a 4-1 preseason victory over the Chicago Blackhawks.

Halak was sharp despite not playing since a 3-1 loss to Colorado in the Blues' exhibition opener Sept. 21. He allowed the game's first goal, by Ben Smith 7:59 into the second period, but was otherwise perfect and even stopped a penalty shot by Jeremy Morin with 4:05 left to help preserve the win.

"I thought he was real solid out there tonight, and frankly, he needed to be," coach Davis Payne said. "The only one that got by him was one that was tipped. He looked like he was tracking well, moving well."

Halak said facing some early action was a big help.

"I felt better, especially because I got some shots early in the game," Halak said. "I think most goalies want to get shots early in the game. It gets them in the game, and that's what happened tonight with me."

David Perron tied the game at 10:15 of the middle period, and T.J. Oshie put the Blues ahead to stay at 17:01 when he beat Marty Turco. Matt D'Agostini scored early in the third period to make it 3-1, and Alex Steen hit the empty net with 1:37 left to assure the Blues of their fourth win in six games.

Perron and Steen each have four goals in the Blues' six games.

The line of Perron, Brad Boyes and David Backes has been solid throughout the preseason for the Blues.

"They've been real consistent," Payne said. "You can tell that not only are they thinking together but they're working together. They're doing a great job of reading off each other. All three guys are playing a pretty reliable game."

Turco stopped 23 of 26 shots for the Blackhawks. Chicago (1-4-0) left top-line players such as Duncan Keith, Marian Hossa, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews at home.

Material from team media was used in this report
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