ST. LOUIS—Goalie Jocelyn Thibault and defenseman Steve McCarthy played Saturday for the first time since November to help the Blackhawks rally from two goals down to send the game into overtime.
But Bryce Salvador thrust the puck into the net on a point-blank shot with 1 minute 50 seconds elapsed in overtime to give the Blues a 4-3 victory. Mike Sillinger set up the game-winner by stealing the puck from Bryan Berard, who was trying to get it out of harm's way after Thibault rejected Eric Weinrich.
"Overall, I felt pretty happy with the way I played against a team battling for a playoff spot in my first game back (since Nov. 8 and after Nov. 15 hip surgery). I was a little tired in the third periodit's something like I go through in training campand I had to remind myself to push myself."
Thibault faced 29 shots, 11 coming in the first period when the Blues took a 2-0 lead. He was at his best early in the period when the Hawks escaped unscathed after St. Louis had a two-man power-play advantage for 74 seconds.
Matt Keith's power-play goal cut the Hawks' deficit to 2-1 midway through the second period, but Pavel Demitra answered for St. Louis a couple of minutes later. Then, rookie Tuomo Ruutu's 19th goal late in the second period and defenseman Deron Qunit's goal at 7:16 of the third period tied the score 3-3.
Making his first appearance since Nov. 22 after missing 54 games with a groin injury, McCarthy assisted on the first goal.
"I felt better than I expected," said the Hawks' first-round choice in the 1999 draft. "I was a little uneasy, but as the game went on I started to get in a rhythm. It would have been a long summer not knowing whether or not I was healthy. When you're pain-free it's one thing; to go out and play in a game is another."
The Hawks were without center Scott Nichol, who earlier Saturday was suspended for two games without pay by the NHL for breaking the right index finger of Minnesota's Filip Kuba with a slash Thursday.