Blackhawks News

Game Recap: Chicago Blackhawks Defeat St. Louis Blues; Inch Closer to First Place

By Brian Kinkade

Dec 3, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) skates past St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko (91) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the St. Louis Blues by a score of 4-1.  With the victory, the Hawks have inched within striking distance of grabbing first place, in the Central Division, from the clutches of the Blues and Nashville Predators.

The Blackhawks controlled the puck in the opening moments of the 1st period.  They soon lost control as the ever dangerous Vladimir Tarasenko took the puck on a breakaway and was wisely high-sticked by Niklas Hjalmarsson, who would receive a penalty on the play, but he also muddled Tarasenko’s golden scoring chance.  The NHL’s top Penalty Killing unit was up to the task, and killed the Blues Power Play.

Rather than the kill giving momentum to the Hawks, it was the Blues who would take control of the play, for the next few minutes.  After a big, but clean hit, from Steve Ott on Andrew Shaw, Dan Carcillo took an ill-timed interference penalty to put the Blues back on the Power Play.  However, once again the Hawks Penalty Killers were up to the task.

The game was beginning to get chippier and chippier which eventually resulted in David Backes slashing his way to giving the Hawks their first Power Play.  Sadly, the word “power” was not the right adjective to describe the Hawks’ first opportunity with a man-advantage, as the Blues would kill the penalty and even create a scoring chance of their own.

While all the penalties proved to be fruitless, there would be some 5-on-5 fireworks, in the 1st period.  After a beautiful strip of the puck, by Brandon SaadMarcus Kruger would find the back of the net at 15:57 of the 1st period.

The 1st period penalties weren’t over, as the game was growing nastier, Andrew Shaw earned a trip to the penalty box after retaliating to another hit from Ott.  However, the Hawks Penalty Kill continued their elite ways by completing a perfect 3-for-3 1st period, against the Blues’ Power Play.

Thanks to the stingy Penalty Kill and some fancy stick-work at the right time, the Hawks took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission.

The 2nd period got off to a slow start and it would continue that way until about 13 minutes in.  That was when Ian Cole got a puck behind Antti Raanta to put the Blues on the board and tie the game at 1 goal apiece.  About a minute after scoring the goal to tie the game, Cole would take an interference penalty, to give the Hawks a Power Play.  Even though they were unable to score on the man-advantage, the Hawks crated space and good puck movement that continued after Cole was back on the ice.  However, that momentum would come to an end at 17:11 of the 2nd, Jonathan Toews would take a very uncharacteristic tripping penalty, to put the Blues back on the Power Play.

The St. Louis penalty would be washed out at 18:52, when Vladimir Tarasenko committed a hooking penalty, to make it a 4-on-4 game, and eventually give the Hawks a brief Power Play.  While the Hawks would generate some chances during the 4-on-4 portion, the game would remain tied up at 1, at the end of the 2nd period.

The Hawks wasted no time in reclaiming their lead, as the red-hot Kris Versteeg put the puck past Jake Allen to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead, at 00:59 into the 3rd period.  They weren’t done either, as Versteeg’s line featuring Brad Richards and Patrick Kane stayed hot when Kane found the back of the net less than a minute later to make the score 3-1 favoring the Hawks.  That line would continue to stay hot as Kane would score yet another goal, on a breakaway, at 5:19 of the 3rd, to make it 4-1 favoring the Hawks.

The game would eventually and mercifully settle back down to a reasonable pace, but the Hawks continued to dominate the puck and limit the Blues’ opportunities.  There would definitely be a big increase in between whistles shenanigans, as is to be expected when dealing with the Hawks/Blues rivalry.  However, the scoring was over as the Hawks would go on to defeat the Blues by a score of 4-1.

Tonight’s win was a big one, for the Hawks.  Next up is another home game, this time against the Montreal Canadiens, on Friday, before the Hawks hit the road again, for a 4-game road trip, starting on Saturday against the Central Division co-leaders, the Nashville Predators.  That’ll be a big one and hopefully the Hawks can keep on rolling, as 1st place in the Central will likely be on the line.

Go Hawks!