This is a different Blackhawks team since the Ice Show road trip.
Desperation (i.e. sitting 11th in the Western Conference with eight weeks to play) will do that to you.
They are starting to make the physical sacrifice. Monday afternoon in St. Louis, the Blackhawks blocked 18 shots, including nine from Brent Seabrook and Brian Campbell.
The day before against the Penguins, the D-corps absorbed 19 pucks and got two key blocks from forward Ryan Johnson, which prompted Jonathan Toews to mention: "Our forwards haven't done that a lot this year."
Viktor Stalberg jumped his check off of a face-off to start the rally against the Blues. Marian Hossa was a beast hunting the puck in the third period. And the captain has been magnificent, winning board battles and bull-rushing the puck to the net. These are neccessites.
At times that desperation has blunted their patience. We still see the Blackhawks "fly the zone" looking for the breakaway pass, when the time and score don't dictate it. Defenseman are left vulnerable. It's a by-product they can deal with if they limit those instances.
This is the type of hockey we see during the run for the Stanley Cup. The playoffs have started eight weeks early for the Blackhawks.