Blackhawks slam the door on the Blues in 2-0 Shutout

 

As the Blackhawks faced another division opponent and another team desperate for points to make the playoffs, it was the Hawks that remained standing at the bell. Coming into the game it was the St. Louis netminder Brian Elliott who was coming into the game with a shutout streak but the Hawks not only answered they pitched a shutout for themselves.

 Corey Crawford gets the shutout but the entire team played solid defense in front of him.  It’s not that the Hawks didn’t make mistakes it’s that they covered for each other when they got in trouble and continue to improve their team game that is impressive.

From the very first drop of the puck, the Blues came out with one thing in mind to be physical with the Hawks and hit anything and everything with an Indianhead jersey.  The Blues tried to intimidate the Hawks physically with their size advantage.

The one concern people seem to have is that the Hawks are too small physically to withstand the punishment playoff hockey brings. Well this was the perfect team and game for the Blackhawks to show the league, size means nothing to them and they will not be intimidated.

The Hawks are counterpunchers. They take the blows and then when their opponents get tired they use their speed and skill to punch their opponents once they have gotten themselves in a bad position.

 If anything the Hawks maybe more physical than most teams, they just do not initiate the punches. The Hawks have proven they know how to finish with knockout blows. Is there another team in the league with more killer instinct than the Hawks, you'd have to say no. 

The Hawks survived the physicality of the Blues in the first period that ended tied 0-0. The second period the Blues could not keep up with Viktor Stalberg’s speed and Bryan Bickell finished it with a stuff past Elliott on the glove side to take a 1-0 lead which was all it turned out was needed.

The third period probably was the turning point when the Blues on a powerplay knocked down a puck with a high stick which moved the faceoff to their zone. Think faceoffs are not important to hockey? Jonathan Toews won the draw that went back immediately to Marian Hossa whose shot got deflected by a Blues player past Elliott for a short handed goal 2-0 Hawks.

As the regular season winds down these games at the end against teams looking for points to get to the playoffs is providing the Hawks with a competitive level they’ll need come playoff time. They give the Hawks a chance to get their snarl on.

If the Hawks need something to work on it is definitely that poweplay that again went 0-3 and just looked lifeless. They have more punch shorthanded than they do with the extra man. Hey you have to have something to work on right.

They also served the league notice when Blues captain David Backes tried to intimidate Jonathan Toews with some hits against the boards which did cause Toews to leave for a short while.  This is captain Jonathan Toews who will not be intimidated nor will the Hawks. If you poke the bear you better be prepared to either run or stop him and so far no one has.

There is one more tilt with perhaps the team who is becoming their biggest divisional rival with the departure of the Detroit Red Wings. The boxing bell has rung in the ring on this match but, St. Louis should now know the Blackhawks will be ready and they better look out for the counterpunch.

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GAME RECAP

 

Final score: Blackhawks 2, Blues 0

CHI goals:  Bickell (GWG), &  Hossa

Three stars:

1)  B. Bickell

2)  C. Crawford

3)  B. Elliott

 

Winning Goalie: Corey Crawford- 0 GA Sv% 100

Losing Goalie: Brian Elliott– 2 GA Sv% .923

 

Next game: Mon 4/15 vs  Dallas Stars, 7:00pm CST

 

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