Late Goal Lifts Blues Over Blackhawks

Hawks' power play shines again despite losing effort

Blackhawks Blues Hockey

 Alex Steen scored the go-ahead goal with 21.1 seconds remaining in the third period, and the St. Louis Blues knocked off the Chicago Blackhawks by a 3-2 margin on Wednesday night at Scottrade Center. 

Vladimir Tarasenko and David Backes both added goals for the Blues, and Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews potted goals for the Hawks in the losing effort. 

The game started out with the Blackhawks getting the lion’s share of the chances. They had a good chance early on a 2-on-1 rush, but Blues defenseman Jordan Leopold sealed off the passing lane and Michal Handzus’ shot was stopped by Blues goaltender Jaroslav Halak. It was one of 11 saves that he made in the period, and it was due in large part to his effort that the Blues withstood the early onslaught.

Halak’s efforts were rewarded late in the period, when Marian Hossa turned the puck over in the neutral zone, and Patrik Berglund found a streaking Tarasenko, who fired a shot over Crawford’s shoulder to give the Blues a 1-0 lead. It was an uncharacteristic turnover by Hossa, who tried to feather a pass through the defense instead of pounding the puck into the Blues’ zone.

The error was quickly forgotten however, as the Hawks caught a break when Blues center Maxim Lapierre went to the penalty box for a boarding penalty against Andrew Shaw. On the ensuing power play, the Hawks managed to tie the game up when a shot from Sharp was deflected by traffic in front, and Kane flipped the puck into the net from in tight.

The second period started out much the same way as the first did, with the Hawks dominating possession early on, but it was the Blues again who broke the tie. TJ Oshie won a faceoff in the Hawks’ zone and fed the puck out to the point, where Alex Pietrangelo fired it on net. It was deflected by Backes, and it gave St. Louis back the lead at 2-2.

Just 24 seconds later, the Blues committed another penalty, with Jaden Schwartz picking up the hooking minor. After a brief power play, the Hawks scored again, this time with Toews doing the honors to tie the game up at 2-2. The goal came as a result of a great pass from Toews from behind the net out to Sharp at the point, who shot the puck into the crease where it was pushed along by Kane right to Toews in front.

The third period started out with the Blues on the power play, but for once, the Hawks did a good job of limiting opportunities, and St. Louis came up empty. After that, the game started to really open up as the Blues abandoned their strategy of mucking up the neutral zone, but the increased tempo seemed to benefit the Hawks more, as the Blues only managed one shot on goal through the period’s first eight minutes.

That dominance by the Hawks continued for the most part as the period progressed, with Marcus Kruger's feed to the netmouth was nearly popped in by Joakim Nordstrom on a great opportunity. A pass from Kane to Bryan Bickell on the rush also went for naught as the Blues were able to disrupt it. 

 Late in the third period, the Hawks lost both Bickell and Toews to penalties, but they still managed to get a couple more good opportunities. Those were highlighted by a drop pass by Brandon Saad that Duncan Keith snared and fired on net, and Halak was barely able to shrug it off to keep the game tied. 

 Unfortunately for the Hawks, their late period dominance wasn't enough. On a play deep in the offensive zone, Brent Seabrook opted to pinch in from the blue line, and the puck ended up finding its way out of the zone, and Keith was hung out to dry on a 3-on-1. Steen ended up firing the puck past Crawford, and the Blues gutted out the two points and left the Hawks wondering what could have been. 

Chicago won't have much time to stew on the loss, however, as they are facing back to back tilts on Friday and Saturday against the Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders. 

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