Things didn't get any easier last night. The Hawks opened up the United Center to host the recently "not so bad" St. Louis Blues and their new found glory. The Blues had previously shut out Detroit, and beaten the Preds in a shootout. Lets not forget latest Blues flash in he pan Vladimir Tarasenko, who might just be the real deal. Everything seemed to be running smooth for the Blues, and it was time to drag their filthy Busch Beer smelling carcasses back down to earth. Crawford and Elliott went head to head, and this was just another major test for the Hawks defensive corp. Like we said before the season, off the couch and right into the frying pan. Live from Chicago, it's the Blackhawks and the Blues...
The Blackhawks came out FLYING down the ice, in the first period. There was odd man break, after odd man break until the Hawks finally broke the ice. The official scorekeeper must have drunk because they claim the Blues out shot the Hawks 9-7. Not the same game, sir.
The second period looked a little more even with the Hawks getting 11 shots and the Blues 9. The only goal was a powerplay goal by the Hawks and the they sat 20 minutes from a 3-0 start. Even though they had less odd man chances, they still had a few.
They couldn't make things too easy, so the third looked as though the ice was really slanted the Blues way. The Blues out shot the Hawks 16-9 and had the pressure on most of the frame. When the final horn went off, the Hawks were still up 3-2. Big win, and on to Dallas.
- The Killer B's, Bickell and Bollig, each had killer chances on Elliott just minutes into the game, but neither could beat him. The combinations of Sharp/Kane, Toews/Hossa followed with a beautiful chances of their own shortly thereafter. Again, all thwarted by Elliott. It looked like track meet down the ice.
- Finally, the trio of Kane/Sharp/Bolland got a THREE ON NONE. You read that right, a THREE ON NONE! Kane and Shooter played give-n-go, and keep-a-way from Bolland. Kane pulled a move around Elliott and tucked it into the net. Damn that felt good, but how does an NHL team give up a three on none? Seriously? 1-0 Hawks.
- At one point towards the end of the first period, the CSN camera crew got so fixated on the two young ladies racks on display behind Mike Kitchen that they missed a quick chance off a draw in the Hawks end that nearly ended up a Blues goal.
- Late in the first, a turnover left the rookie Tarasenko one on one with Crawford, and Miiiiister Crooooowley was the better man.
- Duncan Keith took a biscuit in the chops on a Blues powerplay, early in the second. Crawford was way out of position but the Blues couldn't hit the wide open cage on the back door. This was after Rozsival got walked by Andy MacDonald.
- The Hawks took a 2-0 lead on, the powerplay no less. Right after Crawford snuffed a shorthanded chance by David Back-ass, the puck ended up being carried in by Toews, who fed Keith for a one timer. Seabrook skated right through Elliott's field of vision, and created a little confusion by just slightly getting the puck with his skate. 2-0 Good Guys.
- Pick-to-Click Vik put the Hawks up 3-0 just over 2 minutes into the third. He skated in hard, hit the brakes Top Gun style, and used Chris Stewart as a screen. Elliott never picked the shot up, and the Hawks looked like they were well on their way.
- If this game doesn't make you realize why Brandon Saad is a much better choice than Carcillo playing on the top line, then you're just dull. Saad is just getting more and more comfortable, which is bad news for Hawks opponents, and good news for all us fans.
- Crawford was as solid as you could ask for all night (.941%). The Hawks were outshot 34-28 and the Blues were stopped by good Crawford saves several times, especially in the final minutes of the game.
- Meatballs Unite! The Hawks have now been outhit for 3 straight games, and yet, won all 3. Tell me again how this has been the reason for their woes? This is not by a slim margin, mind you. They have been outhit 104-57. Almost double for those of you mathematically challenged mouth breathing neanderthals.
- Kruger and Shaw were on the shit end of the faceoff percentage, last night. Bolland and Toews were over 50%, and Frolik even won the only two he took.
- While I admire the effort, the Brandon Dull-ig fight with Stewart was just plain dumb. Why give a team in their heels a chance to gain some momentum? Stewart - "My team has no momentum and I need a way to wake them up, want to have a punch me in the face contest?", Bollig - "Duuuuuuuhhhhhhh, uhhhhh, ok"
- Andy MacDonald took a nice feed from Alex Steen after a terrible change and turnover by the Hawks led to Tarasenko turning the rush back around at the Hawks blue line. The Hawks couldn't get the puck deep enough for a change, but they tried to pull it off anyway. Puck...in net....bad.
- The Blues used a late third period interference penalty to Hjalmarsson to bring the game back within one, with 5 minutes to go. Perron took a shot off Crawford from the dot, while Oshie snuck in on the back door. The rebound found Oshie's stick and he didn't miss the gaping net. The perfect PK wasn't going to last forever, especially against a high powered team.
- This new inference rule benefits the Hawks exponentially. This is going to be an exciting year if games are going to continue to be called this way. You're on notice, Western Conference.
- Two giveaways each by both Shaw and Stalberg is probably why we saw Kruger take some third line shifts late in the game. Shaw's stupid puck control decisions with under 5 to go, and a one goal lead, are going to lead him right to Quenneville's Chateau Bow Wow.
- The last minute and a half was a complete and utter Shanghai Fire Dance, but luckily the Hawks were able to hold off the Blues onslaught.
- Low ice time of the game? You guessed it, Brandon Bollig, with 5:16. Nothing like rolling 11 1/2 forwards.