Series (Game 2 of 5)

Chicago leads 2-1

Game 1: Thursday, January 2nd
Game 2: Saturday, January 18th
Game 3: Thursday, January 23rd
Game 4: Thursday, April 3rd
Game 5: Friday, April 4th

Blackhawks 2

(21-15-3, 53 pts)

Blues 4

(25-13-4, 59 pts)

8:00 PM ET, January 18, 2003

Scottrade Center, Saint Louis, Missouri

1 2 3 T
CHI 0 1 12
STL 0 1 34

B. Johnson (Blues - G): Saves: 32, Save Pct.: .941

E. Boguniecki (Blues - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

M. Rucinsky (Blues - LW): Goals: 2, Assists: 1

St. Louis is 5-1-0-2 in last seven games

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Two big plays on one big shift by Eric Boguniecki broke up a tight game.

The St. Louis Blues' forward set up a pair of goals in a 44-second span of the third period, giving his team a two-goal cushion in a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night.

"Anytime you get goals back to back that fast, that gives your team a lot of energy," Boguniecki said. "We took possession of that game."

Martin Rucinsky benefited from Boguniecki's forechecking and beat rookie goalie Michael Leighton with a high backhander at 4:17 of the third to break a 1-1 tie.

"I got the cherry on the cake," Rucinsky said.

Alexander Khavanov scored on a one-timer off Boguniecki's setup from behind the net at 5:01, with Rucinsky also assisting.

"Definitely, you don't expect two goals on you like that,'' Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter said. "Momentum can take you a long ways. They just got on us for about two or three minutes and they capitalized on it."

The Blues are 5-1-0-2 in their last seven games and pulled six points ahead of the Blackhawks for second place in the Central Division. The Blackhawks beat the Blues 4-1 on Jan. 2, also in St. Louis, and had earned at least one point in 14 of 15 games (7-1-4-3).

"After the second period we came in here and said, 'We owe these guys,'" Rucinsky said. "The last time they embarrassed us."

Dallas Drake also scored and Brent Johnson made 32 saves for the Blues, who rallied after losing in overtime to the Islanders at home on Thursday. St. Louis helped the scoring burst stand up by holding the Blackhawks without a shot the first 7½ minutes of the third period.

Lyle Odelein cut Chicago's gap to 3-2 with his fourth of the season at 14:34 of the third, but Johnson denied Eric Daze on a one-timer in front with 2:11 left. Rucinsky wrapped it up with an empty-net goal with 30.5 seconds to go.

Mike Eastwood gave Chicago a 1-0 lead with his first goal in 30 games at 9:39 of the second period. Eastwood, who scored on a deflection of Phil Housley's wrist shot from the point, was waived by the Blues and claimed by the Blackhawks earlier this season. He hadn't scored since Oct. 17.

"The guys made a great play coming up the ice and I just drove it in," Eastwood said. "It bounced in off me, actually. It felt good, sure, but we're here for a win and two points."

The Blues are 15-6-2-2 when their opponent scores first. Chicago fell to 15-5-4-3 when scoring first.

Drake got his 10th goal, and first in six games, on a rebound shot to tie it at 12:32 of the second. Drake said it helped that the puck got caught in his jersey before falling at his feet.

Both teams' power play struggled in the scoreless first period, the Blackhawks going 0-for-3 and the Blues 0-2. Unusually, there were no penalties the rest of the way.

"That's great, I love that," Drake said. "Put that thing away (whistle) as far as I'm concerned, and let us play. It provides for a lot more exciting brand of hockey."

Several Blues players, and Keith Tkachuk in particular, were highly critical of the officiating after a 3-2 loss to the Islanders on Thursday. Tkachuk was called for four minor penalties and drew a gross misconduct after that game.

Game notes
The Blackhawks began a stretch in which they play nine of 10 on the road. ... Blackhawks leading scorer Alexei Zhamnov missed his second straight game because of an injured left hand. ... The Blues are 2-4-1 in their last seven games against the Blackhawks, but 5-2 in their last seven at home. ... The Blues have outscored opponents 65-36 in the third period.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press