Marian Hossacelebrates his short-handed goal against the St. Louis Blues at the Scottrade Center on December 3, 2011.
There are nights when, for lack of a better metaphor, it's about discovering what's between your legs and proving to your opponent it's more than what they have. Tonight was one of those.
Make no mistake, the Blues thought this was their moment, as they have a few times before. They were the hottest team in the league, they had a new coach who was making everything ok, they were at home. This was when the they were going to pronounce themselves true Central Division contenders, and that the previous month hadn't been a mirage like so many Blues' false dawns of the past had been.
They came out and hit, tried to intimidate, tried to get the Hawks off their game, tried to make them quit. But death smiles at us all, and the Hawks merely smiled back. Then the Hawks went about beating their skulls in.
It seems to be a familiar story; the Blue can't maintain discipline when the Indian Head shows up. It usually boils down to whether the Hawks can take the advantage. They did tonight as the Blues lost their rag in the 2nd period. Two power play goals later, and this one was decided.
While it may have seemed that the Hawks were getting manhandled, they never strayed from their game. They didn't look to avoid hits, they maintained composure, and they played the road game they set out to. It worked like a charm, because when things boil down, the Blues don't have enough creativity on their own to make you pay. They count on mistakes. They got one tonight, O'Donnell chasing Patrik Berglund too far, but even that, too, an unlucky deflection to find David Perron. They also got an egregious favor from the refs, who ignored a blatant trip on Andrew Brunette that led to the Blues second. After that? Helpless.
Do we know more about the Hawks now? Only a little. But that little is important. We know that when they need to, the Hawks still can reach down and find the guts (or other organs) that other teams don't have. And that can go a long way.