ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Corey Crawford made 30 saves as the Chicago Blackhawks blanked the St. Louis Blues by the score of 2-0. The shutout is the teams seventh which ties them for the league lead. Left wing Bryan Bickell’s goal in the second was the game winner.
The St. Louis Blues coming into the game knew that they had to contain the Blackhawks offensive prowess and they did that for most of the first period by playing a physical game all around. It was so physical that Hawks captain Jonathan Toews went limping off the ice with three minutes left in the opening frame. The strategy worked and kept the score goal-less in a pretty evenly played game as eight penalties were assesses in the first twenty minutes.
But Toews came out and took the opening faceoff in the second to the relief of those wearing the red of the visiting team. Bickell’s goal, 4:31 into the period started with right wing Viktor Stalberg taking the puck in with speed in the near lane and tried to feed the puck back where it hit the skate of a St. Louis player and went towards the net, but Bickell coming in took a first swipe put hit the post but was able to recover it back and wrap it on in.
In the third, a high-sticking call brought the puck back to the Hawks offensive zone. On the faceoff, Toews won the drop and the puck went back to Marian Hossa who took the slapshot at the top of the circle towards the net that was deflected off a defensive stick and in between the legs of Brian Elliot that finish off his three game shutout streak.
Lately the team has been playing much better and that can be given to Blackhawks coach Joel Quennevelle as he decided to separate the long time defense dual of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith as they have been partnered with Nick Leddy and Niklas Hjalmarsson as they have all had positive improvements in their play and numbers. The team has clinched their division and now lead in the President’s Trophy race as they lead by four points.
Elliot with his 26 saves earned him the Third Star of the Game, with Crawford with the Second Star and improving his record to 17-4-4, and with the game-winner was Bickell with the First Star.
The Blackhawks will now travel home to face the surging Dallas Stars on Monday night at the United Center as they come in having won their last five games.