Blackhawks 4, Blues 3: Hawks rally to win in shootout
BY ADAM L. JAHNS firstname.lastname@example.org March 13, 2012 10:36PM
Chicago Blackhawks Vs St. Louis Blues. 1St-Period. Chicago Blackhawks No.15 Andrew Brunette scores the Blackhawks first goal against St. Louis goaltender No. 41 Jaroslav Halak. I Scott Stewart~Sun-Times
Updated: April 15, 2012 8:16AM
Another disheartening loss against the St. Louis Blues seemed unavoidable.
Ray Emery was chased.
The Blues’ Jaroslav Halak looked sharp.
The Blackhawks played passively.
The Blues played aggressively.
There were even fake cheers and real boos coming from the United Center faithful as the Blues took a first-period lead. Any kind of response, especially at this point in the season, against a bitter rival that had taken the league lead in points through brute force and stellar defense was needed.
And just like that, the Hawks delivered with an effort that could go a long way in defining how well they play the rest of the season.
Patrick Kane scored the only goal in the shootout, and Corey Crawford made 18 saves in relief of Emery as the Hawks rallied for a dramatic 4-3 victory Tuesday. Andrew Brunette, Viktor Stalberg and Brent Seabrook (power play) also scored, and Marian Hossa had two assists.
“It’s good to know we can play a physical game like that, especially with the skill and talent we have in here,” said Kane, who had an assist. “To know that we can play in that kind of game, come back and get a win is really good to know about our team.”
The Hawks, who were without Jonathan Toews (concussion) and lost Niklas Hjalmarsson in the second period, handed the Blues their first loss this season when they score three or more goals (36-1).
They also ended the Blues’ astounding penalty-kill streak at 51 in a row when Seabrook’s point shot beat Halak, who was screened by rookie Andrew Shaw, to tie the game at 3 in the third.
The Blues are the best defensive team in the league, allowing a league-best 26.3 shots per game. But the Hawks fired 46 on Halak. It was the most the Blues, who had taken a 3-1 lead in the first on consecutive goals by Jamie Langenbrunner, Andy McDonald and Patrik Berglund, have given up.
“It was a huge win,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I loved how we played. I thought we competed and we battled, which you have to do against that team.
“Even though we were down after the first period, they had three scoring chances, and they all went in. We hung with it and persevered.”
Kane credited Jamal Mayers and Brandon Bollig for sparking the Hawks with their fights. Quenneville said defenseman Johnny Oduya and Kane had amazing games.
But it was Crawford who entered in a tough spot and shined.
Crawford, who last played Feb. 29, stopped everything he faced, including T.J. Oshie, McDonald and David Perron in the shootout.
Kane beat Halak between his legs with his backhand after a suggestion from Hossa.
“I was pretty focused in that [shootout],” Crawford said. “I was hungry. I just [tried to] get out far, stay patient, make them make the first move.”
The Hawks are 5-1-1 in their last seven games with come-from-behind wins over the Blues and New York Rangers, the best teams in each conference.