It certainly wasn’t easy, but the Chicago Blackhawks still managed to get the job done on Sunday night as they beat the St. Louis Blues 4-2 in a Central Division showdown.
The victory puts the Blackhawks just one point behind the Minnesota Wild in the division standings, and it also caps off a strong week in which they beat a pair of their most bitter rivals to help close the gap.
With that in mind, here are our Three Stars of Sunday’s victory over St. Louis.
Third Star: Scott Darling
Yes, Darling did give up two goals, but his play throughout the contest was strong. He was especially good against Paul Stastny, who is probably secretly hoping that Darling gets sent to Vegas in the offseason. Darling robbed Stastny on three separate occasions, with strong post-to-post moves and great anticipation giving him an edge in their battles.
In total, Darling stopped 30 of 32 shots on the evening, and he was a big part of the reason why the Blackhawks were finally able to turn the tide in the third period and pick up the victory.
Second Star: Artemi Panarin
Patrick Kane stole the show with his precise passing and his excellent goal on Sunday, but Panarin’s play was equally effective, and he made one of the key plays of the entire game to help put the Blackhawks in front late.
On the play, Panarin got the puck as he entered the offensive zone, and he showed some incredible touch on the puck as he fired a perfect saucer pass across the ice to Artem Anisimov. Anisimov then potted a goal to put the Blackhawks ahead, and they would maintain the lead for the rest of the evening.
First Star: Jonathan Toews
Ever since he was paired up with Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik, Toews has found his offensive groove, and that trend continued on Sunday night.
He was a very strong player offensively, picking up an assist on Patrick Kane’s first period goal on a beautiful bit of give-and-go passing, and he also scored a tremendous goal in that frame as he faked Jake Allen out of his pads and roofed a wrist shot to give the Blackhawks the lead:
The goal was Toews’ fourth goal in his last three games, as he also scored a hat trick against the Wild on Tuesday.