2009.12.22 SPORTS BRIEFSNHL
Blackhawks shut out
rival Red Wings
CHICAGO - Cristobal Huet made 20 saves for his second straight shutout while Duncan Keith had a goal and an assist to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to their fourth victory in a row, 3-0 over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday night.
Brian Campbell and Dustin Byfuglien also scored to help Chicago move back into first place in the Central Division.
Huet, also a 3-0 winner over St. Louis on Wednesday night, had to make only a handful of tough saves against the injury-depleted Red Wings en route to his third shutout this season, 23rd overall and first against Detroit. [AP]
Blues beat Canucks
The St. Louis Blues beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Sunday in Vancouver. David Backes scored twice and Ty Conklin made 29 saves to help St. Louis move out of last place in the Western Conference.
Backes opened the scoring on an early power-play deflection and put the Blues back ahead 2-1 with a great individual effort with 8:12 left in the second.
He raced around defenseman Kevin Bieksa off the left wing, cut hard to the net and tucked the puck past goalie Roberto Luongo. Keith Tkachuk doubled the lead 1:27 later.
Shane O’Brien scored for Vancouver, his first goal in more than two seasons. [AP]
Pittsburgh squeaks past Green Bay
PITTSBURGH - Super Bowl champions Pittsburgh scored on the final play to beat the Green Bay Packers 37-36 on Sunday and avoid elimination from the playoffs.
Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tossed a desperation 19-yard pass to Mike Wallace as time expired and Jeff Reed kicked the game-winning extra point as the Steelers (7-7) kept their slim hopes for postseason play alive.
The victory ended a five-game slide by the Steelers (7-7) and halted Green Bay’s five-game winning streak.
Roethlisberger threw for a team-record 503 yards and three touchdowns. He outdid the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers, who had 383 yards passing and three touchdowns. Pittsburgh, which had not won since early November, needed to win its remaining two games and rely on losses by other teams to return to the postseason.
The Steelers are among six teams with 7-7 records still in the hunt for a playoff berth, according to the league’s Web site (www.nfl.com). [Reuters]