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NHL Winter Classic

Pierre Turgeon helps Blues to Alumni Game win

St. Louis defeats Blackhawks in prelude to Winter Classic

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The weather was nearly perfect when the puck dropped at 54 degrees Fahrenheit with a bit of overcast. Busch Stadium was filled with 40,128 fans, and the St. Louis Blues alumni team won.

That made the 2017 Winter Classic Alumni Game enjoyable for everyone Saturday, even the Chicago Blackhawks alumni.

Pierre Turgeon's second goal of the game late in the third period proved to be the game-winner in an 8-7 victory.

"Being involved and seeing the crowd and it being packed and the weather, everything was right," Turgeon said. "Coming back in the locker room and going on the ice, seeing the boys again, it was just something unique. It doesn't happen too often, so I really enjoyed it."

So did the Blackhawks, though their comeback attempt fell short.

Kyle Calder's second goal of the game pulled Chicago within one to set up some late-game drama. With goaltender Jimmy Waite on the bench for a sixth attacker, Steve Poapst's last-second chance from in front was thwarted by Blues goaltender Martin Brodeur.

"I wish I would have stopped that last one to make it an even game," Waite said. "But you could see the tempo pick up at the end. The guys have some pride. We got a good chance at the end. We got to beat Marty Brodeur twice, which is good."

Video: Blues defeat Blackhawks in close WC Alumni battle

Brodeur, who is the NHL's all-time leader with 691 wins and 125 shutouts, stopped nine of 11 shots in the third period. Although the 44-year-old got all but three of those wins and one of the shutouts with the New Jersey Devils, he said it was still special for him playing alongside the Blues alumni, especially being on the ice with a line of Wayne Gretzky, Adam Oates and Brett Hull and defensemen Al MacInnis and Chris Pronger.

Gretzky, Oates, Hull, MacInnis and Pronger are all in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Brodeur will undoubtedly join them when he's eligible in 2018.

"It's fun to be part of these guys," said Brodeur, a Blues assistant general manager. "Even though I had a cup of coffee here, they make me feel like I've been here forever."

Brodeur and the Blues are hoping they can get another win against the Blackhawks in the 2017 NHL Bridgestone Winter Classic at Busch Stadium on Monday (1 p.m. ET; NBC, TVA Sports, SN).

The Blackhawks alumni led 3-2 after the first period with goaltender Darren Pang stopping five of seven shots. Pang, an analyst on Blues telecasts who last played in the NHL in 1988-89, said facing Gretzky, Hull and Oates, who combined for 1,976 goals, 3,692 assists and 5,668 points during their NHL careers, was still scary.

"Next thing you know, they're behind the net together and I'm like, 'Oh no,'" said Pang, 52. "When you don't play, looking over your shoulder and trying to find guys is kind of difficult. You're going post-to-post and you don't want to stumble on top of yourself."

The Blues got goals from Bernie Federko, Peter Stastny and Kelly Chase in the opening six minutes of the second period to jump ahead 5-3 before the Blackhawks answered with goals from Reid Simpson and Ben Eager to tie the game.

A late goal from Barrett Jackman sent St. Louis into the third period with a 6-5 lead, but Daniel Carcillo scored on 2-on-0 rush on the initial shift of the period to tie it again.

Keith Tkachuk put the Blues back ahead for good with his rebound goal on a backhand from in front and celebrated by dabbing.

"My daughter wanted me to do it in case I scored, so I had to do it," Tkachuk said.

The Blackhawks pushed hard after Turgeon's second goal made it 8-6, but could not tie it again.

"I think you saw it ratcheted up there the last 10 minutes or eight minutes," Blackhawks forward Jamal Mayers said. "Unfortunately we couldn't get it tied up, but it was fun. I'm glad we kept it close."

There were smiles and laughter in each locker room afterward, while the players soaked in the atmosphere.

"Being part of this is awesome," Tkachuk said. "Look at the guys in here. It's ridiculous. … I'm looking forward to get some rest, though. I'm done."

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