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Blackhawks hold three-point lead on Blues

CHICAGO (AP) -- The St. Louis Blues finally made a comeback.

After losing seven games in which they were trailing after two
periods, the Blues held on after Keith Tkachuk scored a
third-period goal to earn a 2-2 tie with the Chicago Blackhawks
Wednesday.

"We came back and tied the game," Tkachuk said. "At this
point it was the biggest game of the year."

Pavol Demitra carried the puck across the blue line and left a
drop pass for Tkachuk, who slid a shot underneath a screened Steve
Passmore at 3:10 to score his 14th goal of the season.

"I just took it to the net and just tried to pound it as hard I
could," Tkachuk said. "Fortunately it found a hole."

Passmore took some of the blame.

"I was looking at his skates, no excuses," Passmore said. "He
caught me moving. He shoots through the screen well. I give him
credit for the goal."

The Blackhawks' lead over rival St. Louis for second place in
the Central Division remained at three points as Chicago ended a
four-game homestand 2-1-1.

Eric Daze's tip of Alexander Karpovtsev wrist shot opened the
scoring at 1:12 in the first period. With Daze and Michael Nylander
in the slot, Karpovtsev fired a rising snap shot toward the net and
Daze deflected the puck through Fred Brathwaite's pads for his team
leading 18th goal.

"I guess you could say it was just a good deflection,"
Brathwaite said. "I felt confident but obviously disappointed on
the goal being the first shot of the game."

Jamal Mayers evened the score at 13:55 in the first. Chicago
defenseman Chris McAlpine got his stick on Cory Stillman's pass to
Mayers but could not stop the puck, and Mayers banked a wrist shot
off the near post past Passmore.

"Stillman saw me," Mayers said. "The defenseman slowed it
down a little bit. I was lucky he did not stop it and I just tried
to shoot it shortside."

"I saw it go right by me," Passmore said. "He made a nice
shot at it, banked it in."

Steve Sullivan gave the Blackhawks the lead at 6:23 of the
second. Sullivan stole the puck from Mike Eastwood at the St. Louis
blue line and passed to Daze, who returned the puck to Sullivan in
the slot for the easy score.

"I thought Daze would shoot, but he did see me," Sullivan
said. "They know he has 18 goals and that is what makes him so
dangerous."

"Everybody thought I was shooting," Daze said. "Even Sully
told me he thought I was shooting. He couldn't believe it because
he was all alone. Most of the time I would shoot. I am a shooter.
But I knew Brathwaite was going to challenge and he was wide open
on the other side."

Passmore, Chicago's backup goalie, stopped 19 shots in his third
start, but remained winless this season (0-1-2).

"The job of the backup is when you get nod you better not mess
it up," Passmore said.

Brathwaite allowed 2 goals on 28 shots for his fourth tie
(5-5-4) for the Blues.

Chicago's penalty kill unit, worst in the NHL, stopped four St.
Louis power plays. The Blues returned the favor by stopping all
four of the Blackhawks' power-play chances.

Game notes
The Blues are 7-1-2 when Tkachuk scores. ... Daze has five
goals and three assists during his current four-game point streak.
... Chicago's Bob Probert dressed for the first time after being a
healthy scratch for four games. ... This is the first of five
meetings between the clubs this season. The Blues won the series
last year 4-1. ... Chicago is 1-0-8 in overtime, St. Louis is
2-1-6. ... Sullivan played in is first home game since last season.