Blackhawks hold off Blues, stay undefeated

Blackhawks hold off Blues, stay undefeated
January 23, 2013, 4:09 am

Patrick Kane hadnt been a part of a 3-on-0 before, although thered been some 2-on-0s in the past.

We had a couple 2-on-0s in Switzerland with me and (Bostons Tyler) Seguin, said Kane, recalling his EHC Biel days during the lockout. And we didnt score.

Tuesdays 3-on-0 had a much better result.

Kane scored on that very odd-man rush, and Corey Crawford stopped 32 of 34 as the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in their home opener at the United Center. Brent Seabrook and Viktor Stalberg also scored for the Blackhawks, who opened their season with a 3-0-0 mark for the first time since the 1972-73 season.

And it started in the most unorthodox way, with Kane, Patrick Sharp and Dave Bolland skating unfettered toward Blues goaltender Brian Elliott. Kane and Sharp broke off at the end, with Kane finishing on the backhand.

Its something me and Sharpie talked about: if do get a 2 on 0 usually the guy will pass it off early or pass it around the hash marks top of the circles and give it right back, and its usually its an empty net, Kane said. Elliott played it pretty well. I had to bring it back to my backhand but it was a good feeling to score on that.

It was another great moment in an early season thats been full of them. The Blackhawks wanted to bring the intensity they had in their first two road games here for the home opener, and coach Joel Quenneville said they did.

Yeah, I liked the way we played, Quenneville said. They came on in the third and Crow stood his ground. It was a good pace to start and we had several high quality rush chances.

Yes. But a 3-on-0?

I dont know if Ive ever seen a 3-on-0 in our league. Youve probably got to go back a long time, Quenneville said. I dont know if they keep that stat.

Things got interesting in the third period, when the Blues were trying for their second comeback victory in as many nights. They outshot the Blackhawks 16-9, with Andy McDonald and T.J. Oshie scoring to make it 3-2. But Crawford would allow nothing more, closing the door on the Blues during a furious round of last-minute shots.

They definitely put some pressure on us, Crawford said. Our forwards did a great job, coming back and helping out our D with back pressure. They turned pucks over we were able to attack off of. Our D was doing well just to get the puck out and to our forwards. It was a little nerve-wracking at the end, but good.

The Blackhawks power play came through again. Crawford swept the puck away from the Blues David Backes on one end, and Duncan Keiths laser shot went off Seabrooks skate moments later for a 2-0 lead at the time. The power play, a punch line last year, is becoming effective again.

It starts with just good puck movement, Keith said. And we have two real good units, so maybe theres a little of that competitive edge to try and be good and have success. Its working so far.

Everythings working so far for the Blackhawks. Theyve bent a little but havent broken. Theyve avoided panic situations. Theyve gotten support from each other on the ice and its paid off in a 3-0-0 start. And this one was jump-started by a 3-on-0.

We knew they played last night and we wanted to jump on them early, Kane said. When youre fresh and they played a back to back, you want to jump on them early or jump on them late. It wouldve been nice to finish off a few, but to get one and get the crowd into it, its a good feeling when you play like that.