This game was over 12 seconds into it. With all of the talk about this most likely being the end of the streak, and how the Blues are going to be the tough competitor to tough for the Blackhawks to hold on for yet another win, you can't mention this year's Hawks without talking about how tough they are to beat, and you have to be pretty joyous about the outcome.
Well rounded, with a ton of explosive offense, a deep back end that rivals any ever formed in the NHL, and goalies playing at the top of their game. The Hawks are capable of winning every night and it seems like they just might do that.
One of the better elements of this game, and a few of them prior, is the Hawks play in their own zone. The Blues were not without their own prime chances, and the Hawks most likely got lucky again on a couple, but overall, the Hawks are playing with confidence, composure, and strength at every end of the ice. Playing in their own zone has been one of the achilles heals of the recent past, and that hole is closing up.
This was even more evident in how well the Hawks did late in the 3rd, allowing the Blues to control a little of the puck movement, but still had all of their holes covered.
Good for them in finding a healthy place between getting too comfortable, and having too much adrenaline.
Maybe the dumbest aspect of this game was the lopsided power-plays given to the Blues. If there was any way to let the Blues back into it, taking dumb penalties was it. And none were more dumb than the first involving Bollig. The Hawks had the lead early, they have no reason for starting useless fights, and he didn't even get to fight. Wow, was that terrible.
Once again, this just gave the Hawks a reason to display their super PK, and it had to be good, because if it wasn't perfect, this game was completely different. Big win for the PK!
Bigger win for our goaltenders. This is just awesome to see. Both goaltenders got some action in this one, both made some big time saves for their guys, and they gave a combined effort shutout. Already the 3rd this year, and 2 in 3 games. Can we be any happier about a position that had so much controversy coming in? I hope Crow can figure out what is keeping him down, but Emery coming in with that performance was beyond huge.
This game had challenge written all over it. Challenge accepted and completed by the 2013 Hawks. Keep in mind the Blues were missing a few integral parts.
Let's give it up once again for Brandon Saad, who saw some movement around the lineup and performed beautifully in all roles, and of course had a huge hand in the game winning, breakout goal. Props must go to Hossa for the great pass over to Saad, and to the breakout as a whole. This isn't even what gets my so amped about Saad. I would like to however focus my attention on the moment when he stripped St. Louis of the puck from behind on the PK, and drove it all the way to the net, missing another shorty by inches. This is why his skills excite me so.
Keep it going for Captain Marvel who was everywhere tonight, especially on the scoreboard, and especially on top of Halak. This is why he is a super hero. He simply does it all. I was talking about this with my brother, Toews is the perfect symbol of someone who has mastered the fundamentals of hockey, taken every lesson and best practice to the max. He is what happens when you become the best at doing everything right in hockey.
And keep it going for the 3rd line, because they were beasts out there all night, and it was in the absence of the 2nd line. Kaner is just not going to be effective against a tough and rough defense like St. Louis'. That's okay, the 3rd line has the twin towers with mighty mouse between them, and they can play a fast, rough and tough game, put pressure on, and score goals while at it. These guys are really figuring out how to work with each other's strengths. Shaw was the 7' monster trapped in a high school freshmen's body like he always is, and his wingers did everything else needed to control the tempo and generate scoring chances, keeping the pressure on all night. I hope no one ever tells Shaw how big he really is.
34 hits by the Blues to the Hawks meager 14. Not pretty, but I have to applaud some of the big hits that Hjalmer took in which the guy hitting him got the worst of it.
This game was very even through the first 2 periods of play, and I know we were all nervous heading into the 3rd. What do ya know, the Hawks are cleaning that area of their game up as well. The Hawks have been scored on 5 times in the first 4 minutes of 3rd period play this year. Tonight, they were doing the scoring, against a more rested team.
Taking a challenge like tonight and leaving with a 3-0 win is pretty awesome in my book. Make that 20 games without a regulation loss.