by Vince Maranto on 02/19/12 at 11:44 PM ET
First of all, I hope every one enjoyed “Hockey day in America”. I know Hawks fans did. The Hawks came back from a one goal deficit, to defeat the St. Louis Blues by a score of 3 - 1. It was the first time back at the United Center since the DISASTROUS 9 game road trip. The Hawks have now picked up a much needed 6 out of the last 6 points.
It was Crawford (20-14-5) again in net for Chicago, against Elliot (20-5-2). It should be noted that between Elliot and Halak, the Blues have 12 shutouts; a truly amazing 6 shutouts for each goaltender. Not to be a “Debbie Downer”, but the Hawks STILL have not shut ANYONE out. They remain the only team in the NHL in that category.
The lines and defensive pairings started the same as last game. Scott played several shifts on defense after beginning the game on the 4th line wing. The Hawks also entered the game with a 9 game streak of not allowing any Power Play goals. The length of this streak goes back several years.
In the first period, the Hawks recently anemic Power Play (16.7%, down to 18th) was given almost back to back chances. Unfortunately, it was Crawford who needed to shine. The Blues, by far, had the best scoring opportunity, on a breakaway. For the entire first period, the Hawks only managed to get 4 shots on goal. Pathetic, considering 4 minutes of P.P.
You just knew going into the last couple of minutes that the Blues would score. The way the play was going, plus the Hawks history, this season of falling apart in the last minute of a period forewarned it. A puck that was kicked toward the goal line was considered touched by a stick prior to crossing the line. The original call was good goal. In the review, you couldn’t really tell conclusively. But like the NFL, you have to PROVE for a fact that the call should be reversed. (Before you call me an idiot, I believe that that’s the way it should be). ! - 0, going into the locker room. The Blues were 23-6-2 when scoring first.
The second period saw good saves by both goalies, Elliot in particular..Another blown Power Play by the Hawks, 3 minutes into the frame, came off a really dumb delay of game penalty by Sobotka. He settled down the puck, paused, and the fired it over the glass into the stands. The Blues fought it off and the score remained the same. Another breakaway attempt was thwarted by Crawford. The Blues were 25-5-1 when leading after 2.
5 minutes into the 3rd, a Keith slap shot from Kane & Toews, tied the score 1 - 1. This brought the team, the crowd, (and my house) to come alive. For once there was a freak goal that didn’t go into the back of the Hawks net - about 6 more of those should even things out. Bolland tried to center a pass that went off of Backes’ skate. 2 -1 Hawks. The Hawks hung on, then an empty netter with 50 seconds left by Hossa, made the final score 3 - 1.
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