Blues easily the batter team in 5-1 pounding of Blackhawks
By ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org March 6, 2012 10:28PM
Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues
Updated: April 10, 2012 11:07AM
ST. LOUIS — Not long after the Blackhawks’ confidence-building win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, veteran Jamal Mayers offered the perfect description of the St. Louis Blues.
‘‘They play a man’s game,’’ Mayers said. ‘‘No question about it.’’
Mayers went on to say the Blues would be a ‘‘huge challenge’’ as the Hawks closed out a three-game road trip Tuesday at the Scottrade Center. It didn’t take long for the Blues to show why.
There was T.J. Oshie taking a run at Hawks star Patrick Kane with a head-high hit. There was Ryan Reaves crushing rookie Andrew Shaw into the boards. There was David Backes shoving Dylan Olsen, Duncan Keith and Marcus Kruger down to the ice as he abused the Hawks as he always does.
The Hawks’ road trip may still be a success thanks to victories over the Red Wings and Ottawa Senators and more so because they did it without captain Jonathan Toews (concussion). But the Blues’ manhandling of them in a 5-1 victory certainly ends things on a sour note.
Andy McDonald scored two goals and Oshie, Jason Arnott and Vladimir Sobotka (short-handed) also scored as the Blues jumped out to a three-goal lead early in the second period and ended the Hawks’ three-game win streak.
Andrew Brunette scored for the Hawks when he redirected in Brent Seabrook’s shot in the third period. Ray Emery, starting his third game in a row, allowed five goals on 31 shots.
‘‘We didn’t deserve to win tonight,’’ winger Marian Hossa said. ‘‘It just wasn’t good enough.’’
Coach Joel Quenneville blamed the Hawks’ power play for failing to respond to the Blues’ aggressiveness when it had the chance. After some recent success, the power play failed to set up and managed only three shots on Jaroslav Halak (19 saves) despite 10 minutes (0-for-5) on the advantage.
‘‘We didn’t push back in certain areas, but I thought we had a chance to get back into the game with our power play,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘That’s where we lost the momentum or either a chance to get [the deficit] down to 1. Next thing you know, it’s 3-0.
“Certain guys tonight didn’t have that pace on the power play or the intensity that you need. You’ve got to work harder when you’re on the power play. It’s not a given. It’s something where they were competitive and we weren’t.”
The Hawks only took seven shots after nearly 30 minutes. Hossa failed to record a shot for the second time this season and also a lost a puck battle that led to Sobotka’s crucial short-handed score 1:46 into the second period for the 3-0 lead.
‘‘It seemed like from the first shift, they took over,’’ Hossa said.
The big hits, though, are what some will remember. The Blues were given the man advantage after Seabrook was called for interference when he retaliated for Oshie’s run at Kane late in the first with his own hard check. The Blues then scored on the power play.
‘‘First of all, I didn’t even have the puck, and they call Seabrook for the same hit, basically,’’ Kane said. ‘‘Then [McDonald scores] a power-play goal [when his pass hits off Olsen’s skate] and it’s 2-0. But the [hit] is to be expected.
‘‘That was probably one of their goals tonight, to play physical against us. It seemed to work for them.’’