By Brad Vandenberk
The Chicago Blackhawk`s three-game road trip came to an end on Tuesday night in St Louis. The Hawks had a 3-game winning streak heading into the Scottrade Center. They took two eastern conference teams out earlier last week with the Leafs and Senators falling by one. They then travelled to Detroit where they won a tight match against their divisional rivals. With the Hawks’captain still on the shelf, they have won all three previous games the hard way, grinding out with great defense and even the back checkers making their presence felt. This game would offer another divisional match up with St Louis holding the edge in toughness and grit.
The line up remained the same with Brandon Bollig making his “home” debut. Bollig called in a favour and put his whole family in the crowd. The Hawks knew they would be going to battle against this tough Blues team. Niklas Hjalmarsson, only days away from returning, remained out with Steve Montador joining him. Morrison, O’Donnell and Frolik also missed out on the action again. Patrick Kane continued his play at center with Marian Hossa and Andrew Brunette. The rest of the line up remained the same. Ray Emery started his 3rd consecutive game in net.
The home town got what they paid for as Bollig dropped the gloves with Ryan Reaves less than five minutes into the first. Just after upper cuts and lefts were thrown, the Blues jumped ahead first. Carlo Colaiacovo put a shot on Ray Emery and T.J Oshie tips a dribbler past the Hawks net minder. The Blues lead 1-0. Sharpie`s hands raise high in the air thinking the puck has crossed the line, but Jaroslav Halak makes a great heal save to keep the shutout. Hawks get their first power play opportunity as Ian Cole heads to the box for interference. The Hawks hot power play was cooled off for with their first attempt coming up with no result. As the period is just about to hit the 2 minute warning, Brent Seabrook comes to Kane`s defense going after Oshie who threw a high elbow on Kane. With no call going toward Oshie for the head shot, Seabs headed to the box for interference. The Blues Andy McDonald walked in the offense zone and uses Dylan Olsen`s skate as a backboard tipping it past Emery. The period ended with the Blues leading the shots 14-4 and the score 2-0.
The rodeo continued early in the second. Reaves headed back to his groove in the penalty box after hitting Shaw from behind. During the power play Marian Hossa loses the puck at the Blues blue line resulting in Vladimir Sobotka racing in and puts a shorthanded goal past Emery and the Blues begin to dominate the game. Sami Lepisto collided with David Perron and Lepisto falls down hard favouring his leg. He would leave the game and not return. The Hawks get another attempt on the power play hoping to break Halak. Patrik Berglund hauls down Kruger and the Hawks have another power play attempt. Just as that futile attempt ends, the Hawks get another chance on the man advantage. Brunette has the best attempt as the Hawks go 0 for 4 on the power play and only totals 2 shots on net. The Blues also kill their 31st straight penalty. The period ends with the Blues controlling the game in every category.
The Hawks come out firing to open the third. Andrew Brunette final gets rewarded for going to the net. Just 2 minutes into the 3rd, Seabrook hammers a shot on net and Brunette tips it past Halak getting the Hawks to within 2. The huddles continued after every whistle. This time Ian Cole heads off with a rough. The Hawks now have a chance to come to within one. With 32 straight under their belts, the Blues kill off another penalty and the Hawks finish the game 0 for 5 on the power play. Emery tried to keep the Hawks close but as the shooting clinic continued so did the saves. Bollig follows his path back to the penalty box cross checking Roman Polak in front of the Blues net. The Hawks penalty kill kept the game close killing off the Blues power play. McDonald is back on the score sheet going five hole on Emery. The Blues climbed back to their 2 goal lead with just 4:44 left to play. The Hawks could not get out of this game quick enough. With just 15 seconds left before the bigger lady sings, Jason Arnott flips a shot on net which tricking Emery and giving the Blues a final victory 5-1.
-Hawks were outshot 31-20
-Hossa and Kane`s dominance was no longer as both players went scoreless.
-Keith led the Hawks with 28:07 TOI
-Toews missed his 8th straight games with an upper body injury.
-The Hawks now travel home where they hope defensemen Hjalmarsson will be back in the lineup. Friday night they welcome the Rangers who lead the Eastern Conference. Last time they met the Hawks scored 3 goals within 4 minutes of the first.