The St. Louis Blues' Alexander Steen, right, checks the Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw, center, as the Blues' T.J. Oshie watches during the third period Wednesday in St. Louis. (Bill Boyce / Associated Press)
St. Louis — Alexander Steen got just enough on a slap shot in the closing seconds to get the puck past Corey Crawford and give the St. Louis Blues a win over the rival Chicago Blackhawks.
Steen’s drive with 21.1 seconds left trickled through Crawford and lifted the Blues to a 3-2 victory against the defending Stanley Cup champions on Wednesday night.
Steen broke down the left side as part of a 3-on-1 rush. Instead of passing, he let go a shot from just inside the left circle.
“You pick a spot,” Steen said. “I don’t know that it’s really how hard it is. It’s more where you put it.”
The Blackhawks (1-1-1) lost for the first time in regulation. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville was particularly upset that his team gave up an odd-man break so late in a tie game.
“You’ve got to get that game to overtime,” Quenneville said. “You take one (point) maybe two. You don’t get none. That’s unacceptable.
“There was not a lot of mistakes. We played a good game. But you can’t make a mistake like that.”
The Blues (3-0) matched their best start to a season, also done in the 1969-70 and 1993-94 campaigns.
“Playing Chicago is always a big game,” Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak said. “I think our guys came up big. We stuck to the game plan and didn’t give up.”
Halak, who made 26 saves, has been in net for all three wins.
“You just have to focus on every shot and try not to give up rebounds,” Halak said.
Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes also scored for St. Louis.
Patrick Kane scored for the third straight game for the Blackhawks, and Jonathan Toews had the other Chicago goal. Crawford made 31 saves.
Former Red Wing Stuart suspended
San Jose Sharks defenseman Brad Stuart has been suspended for three games, without pay, by the NHL for an illegal check to the head of New York Rangers forward Rick Nash.
Stuart, the former Red Wing, was given a minor penalty for elbowing 2:32 into San Jose’s 9-2 win on Tuesday night. The league’s Department of Player Safety handed out a stiffer punishment Wednesday.
Stuart will lose $55,384.62 in salary that will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund, and will sit out at Vancouver on Thursday, a home game against Ottawa on Saturday, and at St. Louis on Tuesday. He is eligible to return at Dallas on Oct. 17.
Nash played several shifts after the hit, but was ruled out following the first period.
“It just didn’t feel right,” Nash said Monday. “Any time you get a head shot you’re concerned. It’s not a good feeling.”