– Photo by Jeff Curry/NHLI via Getty Images
For the first time in three years, the Blues have won the Central Division.
St. Louis clinched the division with a 2-1 victory over Chicago led by the goaltending of Jake Allen who stopped 21 out of 22 shots faced and earned his third victory in his past four starts. Allen has allowed just four goals in the past four games.
Offensively, Dmitrij Jaskin and Paul Stastny each provided goals to propel the Blues past the Blackhawks for the second time this week.
With the win the Blues are now 50-24-7 with 107 points and are tied with the Anaheim Ducks for the lead in the Western Conference with one game remaining in the regular season. The Ducks final game will be against the Arizona Coyotes while the Blues still have the Minnesota Wild left on their schedule.
If the season were to end today, St. Louis would face the Wild in the first round of the playoffs.
St. Louis got off to a hot start in the first period and generated chances in the attacking zone. The Blues finally converted late in the second period on the power play. Alex Pietrangelo sent a wrist shot in on net from the point that trickled past Corey Crawford. Jaskin was sitting right on the door step and tapped the puck into the net giving St. Louis the 1-0 lead late in the second period.
Allen stood tall stopping all 15 shots faced to that point from the likes of Marian Hossa, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith.
The Blues tacked on another goal to their lead later in the third period. Jaden Schwartz carried the puck in one a three-on-one with T.J. Oshie and Stastny. Schwartz delayed, drawing Duncan Keith in, before passing back to Stastny who beat Crawford glove side making it 2-0 with 5:55 remaining in the final period of regulation.
Andrew Shaw added a goal just over a minute later, but it was not enough as Allen and the defense stepped up to get the crucial two points.
St. Louis looks to earn the first seed in the Western Conference in its final game against the Minnesota Wild in a potential first round preview. The game is set for Saturday, Apr. 11 at 2:00 p.m. CT.