[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=blues+blackhawks&iid=8381867″ src=”e/c/0/3/Chicago_Blackhawks_vs_89cd.JPG?adImageId=11924253&imageId=8381867″ width=”500″ height=”297″ /]
Always nice to beat the Blackhawks – even nicer when it means that the Blues playoff hopes are still alive. Just – but they are still alive. As usual for games against the Blackhawks, it was a physical and hard hitting game.
It started badly for the Blues. Play broke down too often in the offensive zone leaving the Blues defense charging back trying to stop a few breakaways. Cam Janssen tried to set the tone by fighting Ben Eager a couple of minutes after the start but a misunderstanding between Oshie and Backes led to Patrick Sharp being given an unimpeded run at Chris Mason for the Blackhawk’s first goal. The ever impressive Alex Steen pulled the Blues level when he zipped the puck past Niemi in the Blackhawks goal – courtesy of a great screen by Jay McClement. The Blackhawks pulled ahead again after a puck bounced over Eric Brewer’s stick giving Jonathan Toews a chance. His shot was saved by Mason but the rebound was slotted home by Marian Hossa.
The Blues tied the game early in the second period with a rocket of a shot from Eric Brewer from the blueline. Amazingly, it wasn’t tipped and went straight in. Janssen kept the energy going by fighting Nick Boynton near the end of the period – and got a game misconduct for his troubles. It appears that he hit Boynton when the officials were separating them…and also had his arm out of the sleeve of his jersey to give himself more room to throw a punch. It was a pretty even period with both teams having 11 shots.
The third period was where the Blues pushed harder. Although they were outshot 11-9 in this period, the Blues didn’t have a powerplay – whereas the Blackhawks had one powerplay midway through the period but were unable to capitalise. It was that man, Alex Steen, who put the Blues ahead – combining with David Backes and Erik Johnson to slot the puck home. Erik Johnson added a fourth goal later after the Blackhawks were caught puckwatching and he nipped in unseen to score past Niemi.
Paul Kariya didn’t come out for the second period – he has a lower body injury and is listed as “day to day”. Word is that Kariya will have tests but will not accompany the team on the trip to Nashville for tomorrow’s game. In his absence, Alex Steen will take Kariya’s place on the top line with Oshie and Backes. Steen did brilliantly on this line in the Blackhawks game and he’s definitely deserved his chance.
Anyway – your game reports:
- The Blues Official Site has the recap, highlights and interviews with Alex Steen, Erik Johnson, Chris Mason and Davis Payne.
- St Louis Game Time is happy that the Blues kept the Blackhawks recent slump alive and discusses the rivalry.
- Jeremy Rutherford of the Post Dispatch sums up the game and gives Alex Steen some kudos – comments from Alex “The Steen Machine” Steen, Davis Payne, Erik Johnson and Chris Mason.
This very odd playoff run continues in Nashville on Thursday.