Blackhawks' balance, grit proves troublesome again for Blues

Blackhawks' balance, grit proves troublesome again for Blues
January 23, 2013, 5:24 am
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Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock knows playing at the United Center had been no easy task for his team in the past, and the challenge sure didn't lighten up for St. Louis on Tuesday night.
The Blackhawks and Blues both headed into tonight's matchup undefeated, but the way the Chicago began tonight's game proved they weren't ready to add a tally to their non-existant loss column. Their momentum right off the bat mirrored the same strength they showed in Los Angeles and Phoenix, and just like the Kings and Coyotes, the Blues were taken aback by it.
"The start killed us," Blues forward Andy McDonald said. "We took too many penalties, we mismanaged the puck early in the game, it seemed to take us a while to feel comfortable making plays in our own zone, plays in the neutral zone. Maybe a little bit of that had to do with how how the Blackhawks were coming, but we've got the skill to make better plays and manage the puck better than that."
Since the 2009-10 season, the Blackhawks have hosted the Blues a total of 10 times in the regular season, and only once -- a matchup back in Feb. 2010 -- did St. Louis come out of top. But that sure hasn't slowed the rivalry between the two teams. McDonald, who scored the Blues' first goal in Tuesday night's 3-2 loss, knows the Blackhawks' strong chemistry among their four lines is what gave the Blues trouble from the start.
"They've got a pretty balanced team," McDonald said."They have a lot of talent up front and a lot of skill spread out. They also have some grit and physicality there, so I mean they're a pretty well-rounded team.
"It's always a great rivalry between them and us and we look forward to playing them whether it's here or in our building. It's always a lot of fun. We've got a few more games, so we've got to get them back."