Blues beat Blackhawks for sixth win in their last eight games

Tribune Content Agency

CHICAGO — Thanks to a 5-3 win over the Blackhawks on Thursday night, for the first time in six weeks, the Blues inched their record above .500.

Jakub Vrana, Logan Brown, Alexey Toropchenko, Jordan Kyrou and Brandon Saad scored for the Blues, who are now 6-1-1 in their last eight games. Jordan Binnington made 30 saves.

The win pushed the Blues’ record to 35-34-6, above .500 for the first time since a win over New Jersey on Feb. 16.

Andreas Athanasiou, Tyler Johnson and Boris Katchouk scored for the Blackhawks, who lost their seventh straight game.

The Blues fought off a late push by the Blackhawks with the extra attacker, which included Binnington’s sprawling save on Lukas Reichel with about 1:45 left in the third period. Moments later, Brandon Saad iced the game with an empty-netter.

Slow start

The high-scoring game masked a slow start on Thursday night.

Neither team had a shot on goal in the opening seven minutes, and Seth Jones’ shot 7:04 into the game led into the first television timeouts. The Blues’ first shot on goal came 9:20 into the game, when Brayden Schenn directed a puck on net.

In the second period, Vrana opened the scoring with his ninth goal in 13 games since he was acquired at the trade deadline from Detroit. After scoring twice against the Canucks on Tuesday, Vrana has now scored in consecutive games for the second time with the Blues. The goal was Vrana’s 200th career point.

Brown tipped a Justin Faulk shot after Josh Leivo forced a turnover deep in the Blackhawks zone. The goal was the first by Brown since March 2 in San Jose. Without Robert Thomas and Pavel Buchnevich in the lineup for the Blues, Brown had a chance for more minutes as the third-line center on Thursday night.

Just 38 seconds later, Toropchenko extended the Blues to 3-1 with a goal that finished a 3 on 1 rush. It was Toropchenko’s eighth goal of the season and second in as many games.

With a secondary assist on Toropchenko’s goal, Faulk again had a multi-point night, and now has nine points in the last four games.

PK still poor

The Blues survived in spite of a penalty kill that allowed multiple power play goals for the third straight game. Chicago went 2 for 3 on the power play on Thursday night, and the Blues PK has now allowed goals on eight of the last 11 power-play chances for the opposition.

The Kings scored four power-play goals against the Blues on Sunday and the Canucks followed that up by scoring two on St. Louis on Tuesday.

“I think a couple things that have happened recently is just getting off page of what your job is out there,” Blues coach Craig Berube said before the game. “Those are bad reads more than anything. The other thing is you’ve got to block shots, and we haven’t blocked enough shots.”

Athanasiou scored on an open net in the first period after he was set up on the far post by Johnson. Johnson himself tapped in a Taylor Raddysh pass at the edge of the crease in the opening minute of the third period.

On the season, the Blues penalty kill is at 73.85%.