All the excuses were in place for the Blackhawks.
Back from a nine-game road trip. Second game in 24 hours. Third game in four days. And, oh, yeah, they were playing the league's best defensive team that was coming off its 12th shutout the day before.
But the Hawks rallied from a 1-0 deficit after two periods to score three in the third for their third straight win, 3-1 over St. Louis.
Theyre a great team, a patient team, said Bryan Bickell, who earned an assist on Dave Bollands game-winning goal. Theyve been having an outstanding year, and for the stuff weve been through, its important to move on and get this ball rolling again.
They dont give up much. Ya gotta stay with it. Against them, its not a high-quality-chance game, explained Head Coach Joel Quenneville. Youve gotta go through high traffic, you have to score ugly goals and we got a few breaks in that area today. But the guys hung with it. I know sometimes the guys looked a little tired on shifts, but we shortened them in the third, and we got a little more energy off of it.
Duncan Keiths equalizer just under five minutes into the third was just his second goal in three months, but he was on his way to a plus-3 after being a plus-4 in Columbus 24 hours earlier.
It was only one goal (deficit). We knew we were right there. I think we learned a lot there in that losing streak. I think weve brought some of those lessons learned in tonights game. Its only one game, but weve got to keep playing the right way, and use those things weve been learning.
They're now 2-0 this season against Blues All-Star goalie Brian Elliott, who has just four other losses in 29 games this season. It also was a reward for Corey Crawford, who's now quieting the "let's trade for a goaltender" talk as the man in net for this three-game win streak's that followed the nine-game nightmare. When the Hawks were being dominated, and outshot 15-4 in the opening period, the only shot that got past him was on a goalmouth pileup in which Jamie Langenbrunner kicked the puck to Andy McDonald, whose stick provided enough push to get it over the goal line. Crawford stopped the other 29 shots he faced, including a breakaway by Chris Stewart midway through the second to keep it 1-0. There were a couple of other big ones along the way, too.
Ive been able to be in more control, not sliding around as much, Crawford explained after his 21st victory of the season earned him No. 1 Star of the Game honors. Ive been pretty focused. As a team were doing the little things right, not forcing anything. And thats the perfect game to show it, down most of the game and not trying to do too much to try and get one. We were just putting the puck in the right places and waiting for our chance.
I was always comfortable with our goalies, Quenneville said. It was only a matter of time where we needed a goalie win and I thought today was. Hes proven to us that hes capable of doing it.
He was great tonight, said Patrick Kane. I think hes changed up his game a little bit. Hes working really hard in practice, and just talking to him, it sounds like hes really excited about where hes at. Its good to have confidence in him. Wed seen it all last year with how good he was in that stretch. E know what a great goaltender he can be.
Dave Bolland's winning goal was actually a centering pass that went off of Blues captain David Backes, who was parked in front of the net. Those are the kind of goals that had been going against the Blackhawks recently. Marian Hossa then wristed in an empty-netter from his own blue line in the final minute to cap off Hossa Bobblehead Day.
- The Hawks power play is now 0-for-its-last-29 with Sunday's 0-for-3. Bolland scored the last one in the third period of the last home game, January 24th against Nashville.
- Joel Quenneville said before the game defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson skated once again and could be ready for Tuesday's game against Detroit. He's missed the last five with an upper body injury. Steve Montador's also missed the last five with an upper body, but the Head Coach says there's been no progress toward his return.