The Chicago Blackhawks were serious when they said they wanted to keep the St. Louis Blues out of the playoffs, and proved that with a stunning last-minute victory Wednesday
Wow, what a game.
For Chicago Blackhawks fans who have endured this painful season, we’re glad you got to enjoy this win against the St. Louis Blues. For a moment Wednesday, we all forgot about firing coaches, being mad at GMs and thinking about Stanley Cup windows closing.
We got to see our beloved Chicago Blackhawks take care of business on the road against their biggest rival. And it ended with Vladimir Tarasenko breaking his stick over his knee and Blues GM Doug Armstrong sick to his stomach.
And how ironic does it get when the Blackhawks seal the deal in the third period with a Duncan Keith (right?) powerplay (right??) goal?
A lot of young players stepped up in this game and gained valuable experience. Even though the Blackhawks are not exactly tanking for draft position, ending the season on a good note is progress.
Let’s take a look at five thoughts following the Blackhawks’ 4-3 win against the Blues on Wednesday night in St. Louis.
Duncan Keith saves a goal, we think
A couple minutes into the game, Jaden Schwartz got the puck behind the Blackhawks’ goal with J.F. Berube defending the other side. Schwartz quickly tried to wrap it around when Keith stopped him right at the post.
Da Windy City
Keith and Schwartz battled to move the puck and at one point, it looked like it may have crossed the goal line. Upon further review, the NHL declared the puck did not fully cross the line and it was overturned.
Blackhawks defensemen had a rough go tonight and were not spared by the NBC Sports Network commentators. The first goal of the game, scored by Robert Bortuzzo, happened because of a bad turnover by Connor Murphy, pointed out by Eddie Olczyk.
Later in the game, Jan Rutta skated the puck up the ice and turned it over to the Blues, leading to a Tarasenko breakaway goal. Pierre McGuire was very critical of Rutta and noted that the Blackhawks have been bad all year because of plays like that from their defensemen.
Blake Hillman scores his first NHL goal
Playing in just his second NHL game, Blackhawks defenseman Blake Hillman scored on a beautiful one-timer from the point. The play started when Schmaltz stole the puck from a Blues defenseman and raced up the ice. Schmaltz stopped at the top of the circles and waited patiently for reinforcements to arrive. He softly passed the puck to Hillman, who teed it up for a nice goal.
The former University of Denver Pioneer has looked pretty good in these last couple games. He hasn’t been anything special, nor has he made noticeable mistakes. He has good size and is physical with forwards below the goal line. If he can shoot like that often, he’ll earn himself more than just an end-of-season tryout with the Blackhawks.
Alex DeBrincat: Blackhawks’ leading goal scorer
Midway through the third period, Alex DeBrincat scored on Blues goaltender Jake Allen far side. It was his 28th goal of the season, passing Patrick Kane for the team lead in goals. It’s pretty amazing so many teams passed him up in the draft, and he continues to prove all of his doubters wrong.
Clutch powerplay goal
With less than three minutes to go, Patrick Sharp drove the net after a Blues turnover and drew a holding penalty. And with exactly two minutes to go, Keith scored his second goal of the season to seal a Blackhawks victory.
A couple things here. Keith has struggled to score all year finally gets on the board again, and on the powerplay? To be exact, via the 29th-ranked powerplay?
This tells us a very important thing. If the Blackhawks want it, they can take it. They played up to their competition tonight and really played a great game. This game doesn’t make up for the other 80 or so pitiful losses, but it helps with optimism going into next year.
Next game is against the Blues on Friday at the United Center. Let’s hope the Blackhawks can bring it again and maybe win more faceoffs.