Chicago Blackhawks deliver the final blow to Blues with 5-2 win
If familiarity breeds contempt the age old adage certainly applies to Chicago Blackhawks/St. Louis Blues games. This was the 277th meeting between these two Central Division rivals. Going into this game I was very concerned for the Blackhawks on a number of fronts. I was hoping for some answers against an up and coming Blues team who beat the Hawks in their last meeting 3-0. The Hawks gave me some with a resounding exclaimation point.
My concerns were the lack of defense in the Hawks zone, not by just the defensemen but by the forwards and goalies too. I was rightfully worried over the NHL’s worst PK and an inconsistent power-play. I was looking for a break through game from the Hawks (15-8-3) vs. Blues (14-8-3). With the St. Louis Blues sitting two points behind the Blackhawks with a game in hand this game could not be more critical for either club.
The 1st period started with some physical play on both sides. The crowd was electric and ready for the Central divisional rivalry. From the jump you knew this was going to be a grueling physical battle. Then at 6:21 a nice welcome back for David Perron as he lifted one high over Emery’s glove left side by the post. Perron was assisted by Berglund and Polak 1-0 Blues.
In a new line look coach Q had Toews, Kane and Carcillo together to I assume create space for 19 & 88. I kind of liked the energy of this line. Carcillo is fast enough to keep up with Toews and Kane and his fiestiness was needed as it turned out. There was a scrum with coincidental roughing minors to Carcillo and Polak so both teams went 4 on 4 but no scoring.
The first ended still 1-0 Blues with the stats being SOG 13-8 Blackhawks; FO wins 11-8 Blues; Penalties 1 aside for the coincidental roughing calls and hits 12-10 Blues .
Before the second period even started in the faceoff there was a skirmish between Oshie and Carcillo at the centerline face-off circle which bode well for the Hawks physicality. Then at :51 Toews on a redirect off of a Hjalmarsson shot from the point from a long cross ice Kane pass got through. Thanks to Kanes’ hustle to the puck and keeping it from being icing 1-1 tie game.
At 11:50 Brunette was tripped by Sobotka along the boards in the Hawks end put no penalty was called and on that turnover Stewart scored on Emery 2-1 Blues. So there was no call on this and then the Hawks were called for Toews slashing 2min on Perron so to the PK the Hawks went. Then hallelujah, shorthanded Hossa and Bolland broke in on a 2 on 1 and Hossa beat Elliott on the right stick side with a wrister. Hossa used Bolland as decoy beautifully. The play originated with a sweet pass from Keith 2-2 tie.
The Chicago Blackhawks went to the power-play Sharp beat Elliot from the point when he blasted one high glove side assisted by Toews and Keith 3-2 Hawks. Then late in the 2nd there was a scrum when all hell broke loose in the Blues end when Russell went after Kane and Steen went after Toews and who was policing both fights Mr. Daniel Carcillo. He was not going to let his mates get roughed up. I love this guy. The Blues got a PP out of it with 4 minutes to Carcillo and 2 minutes to Backes both for roughing. PK did it's job and killed the penalty with no goal.
Then as the 2nd ended Backes went after Bolland and Seabrook had to step in for his mate. Bolland and Backes were sent off for coincidental minors for roughing. Oshie then slashed O’Donnell so the Hawks will start the third with a 4-3 man advantage. Boy this was old school hockey for sure particularly in the 2nd period as it finally came to an end. It should be mentioned Keith and Seabrook had a huge amount of ice time because it seemed like they never left the ice.
In the second the stats being SOG 14-9 Blackhawks; FO wins 25-20 Blues; Penalties 4 aside and hits 14-10 Blues.
To start the third the Hawks will be on the PP 4-3. Then on the power-play Hawks went 4-2 on a beauty from Hossa in the slot that went from Kane to Sharp to Hossa on a slapshot just 1:17 into the period. The Blues went to the PP when the puck was shot out of play by Keith and delay of game was called but no harm as they got a PP of their own. The Blues went to the PP on a Bolland high sticking with only 4:28 left in the game but the Hawks killed it off. Then Frolik got an empty netter 5-2 Hawks with only 1:12 left in the game
This was a great test for both the Hawks and Blues and almost had a playoff feel to the game. The Hawks did answer some of my questions not letting the Blues score on the PP and scoring one of their own being shorthanded. They got physical when they needed to and would not be pushed around. I’m sure the Hawks are exhausted I know I am from just watching but it was a great win over a good divisional rival and two hard earned points for Chicago. SOG for game 36-25 Hawks.
Monday night, the Blackhawks will face the Phoenix Coyotes at the United Centers, 7:00pm CT on Versus.
Scratches in the game – Blackhawks - Sami Lepisto, John Scott & Bryan Bickell. Blues – Chris Porter
The three stars of the night were: 3. Patrick Sharp (CHI); 2. David Perron (STL); and 1. Marion Hossa (CHI).
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