Blackhawks hold off Blues, stay undefeated

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Blackhawks hold off Blues, stay undefeated

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.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

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Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks battle Wild on CSN; UIC hosts Green Bay on CSN+

Fast Break Morning Update: Blackhawks battle Wild on CSN; UIC hosts Green Bay on CSN+

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

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