Saturday’s result: Blues 3, Blackhawks 1
By Mark Lazerus email@example.com April 27, 2013 9:38PM
St. Louis Blues' Jaden Schwartz (9) slides the puck past Chicago Blackhawks goalie Carter Hutton (33) for his second goal of the game during the second period of an NHL hockey game, Saturday, April 27, 2013 in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Tom Gannam)
ST. LOUIS — For the Blackhawks, the result of Saturday night’s season-finale in St. Louis wasn’t nearly the most important one of the night.
“We mentioned having a TV on the bench,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville joked before the game.
And by the time the Hawks — with eight rookies and a few usual scratches in the lineup as the top stars got the night off — lost 3-1, the real news of the day was already out. The Hawks will face the Minnesota Wild in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, likely beginning Wednesday at the United Center.
The Wild staved off the Colorado Avalanche 2-1, rendering Columbus’ dramatic victory over Nashville moot. The Detroit Red Wings beat the Dallas Stars to take the seventh seed. They’ll face the Anaheim Ducks in the first round.
The Hawks are 2-0-1 against the Wild this season. Minnesota handed the Hawks their first loss of the season, 3-2 in a shootout, on Jan. 30. On March 5 at the United Center, Bryan Bickell scored two of the Hawks’ four first-period goals in a 5-3 victory. And on April 9 in St. Paul, Marian Hossa had the lone goal and Ray Emery made it stand up in a 1-0 shutout.
As for the Hawks’ season-ending loss — which meant nothing to the Hawks, but clinched the fourth seed and home-ice advantage in the first round for the Blues — the young guys looked aggressive and energetic on the offensive end, but the Hawks missed the defensive prowess of players such as Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson, as well as the skill of Patrick Kane.
The Blues got a goal from Patrik Berglung and two from Jaden Schwartz, as Carter Hutton made 25 saves in his NHL debut. Ben Smith scored his fourth career goal at the 8:23 mark of the third period to ensure the Hawks would go the entire regular season without being shut out.