Blackhawks Subdue Blues

On a Sunday night that saw two significant trades impact the Western Conference, the Blackhawks hosted the St. Louis Blues in a heavyweight fight at the United Center.

Tomas Jurco made his Blackhawks debut (wearing #13) on a line with Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa, while Ryan Hartman and Tanner Kero were joined by Andrew Desjardins.

At least that’s how the lines started.

The Blackhawks came out flying, and got off to a good start. At 4:18 into the first, Nick Schmaltz connected with Jonathan Toews and the Hawks were on the board.

Five minutes later, Kruger was sent to the box for hooking. Thankfully, St. Louis only had 37 seconds of an advantage before Alexander Steen hooked Kero and the teams were spent some time playing 4-on-4. During the 4-on-4, coach Joel Quenneville sent Schmaltz out with Patrick Kane for shift and the two nearly connected for a goal.

Jake Allen stopped Kane that time, but Chicago’s sniper wouldn’t be denied when the Blackhawks had a brief power play with Steen in the box.

Chicago’s 2-0 lead lasted a little more than five minutes before a poorly played puck turned into a Magnus Paajarvi goal and the Hawks were up 2-1.

Chicago came out firing, getting 20 shots on net in the opening 20 minutes. St. Louis put 11 on Scott Darling, starting for a sick Corey Crawford.

The second period saw the action even out. With Trevor van Riemsdyk in the box, Alex Pietrangelo tied the game at two at 12:33 into the second. That is where the score would remain as the Blues out-shot the Hawks 12-11 in the middle stanza.

Both goaltenders improved as the third period progressed. Allen made a few huge stops, including one against a Richard Panik breakaway in the middle of the third. For his part, Darling made a couple enormous saves to keep the score tied at two.

As the third continued, Quenneville started to throw his lines around like crazy. Kane saw shifts with Desjardins and Hartman as the Hawks tried to find a matchup that worked.

But for all the mixing and matching, the Hawks offensive juggernaut line broke the tie. With 5:20 left in regulation, Artemi Panarin threw a ridiculous pass across the crease to Artem Anisimov and the Hawks were back in front.

Anisimov’s 22nd of the year gave Kane a two-point night.

With 95 seconds left in regulation, Darling made a couple tremendous saves in traffic and Kero was able to clear the puck with Allen on the bench for St. Louis.

Inside the final 10 seconds, Hartman had a huge shot block in front of a scrambling crease and the puck found Kero, who was able to aim and fire on the empty net and the Hawks finished off a 4-2 victory.

And two busloads of Blues season ticket holders were sent home sad.

Darling finished another strong performance with 31 saves against 33 shots.

Toews won nine of 19 faceoffs with two points (one goal, one assist) and one hit. Kane also had two points (one goal, one assist) and one hit in 21:30, the highest ice time total for Blackhawks forwards.

On the night he recorded his 500th point, Duncan Keith 26 minutes important with two blocked shots and no Niklas Hjalmarsson in the lineup. Without Hjalmarsson, Brent Seabrook saw a lot of late ice time with Keith and led Chicago with five blocked shots.

Hartman and Desjardins led Chicago with four hits each. Kero won four of nine faceoffs and added one hit to four shots on net and his fifth goal of the season.

23 thoughts on “Blackhawks Subdue Blues

  1. Jurco looked fine – has some good wheels and handled the puck pretty well. Is Kruger still hurt or just struggling? Darling was excellent, I’d sure like to see fewer high quality chances as we head toward playoff time. Shows just how valuable Hammer is. Based on the picks that Hanzal brought you gotta believe Shattenkirk is gone this week. That will be another tough blow for the Blues.

  2. Solid effort. If you include Motte & Hinostroza, that s 16 forwards for the playoff run.

    My concern is the back end, particularly Van Riemsdyk. The games get more physical and chippy in the playoffs, Bowman is no dummy, he s going to trade for a D man, I cant imagine Oduya will cost that much. Campbell can easily slot in as the 4th D man, Van Riemsdyk is not cut out for 4 rounds of that, we saw that tonight.

    Overally, I see the initial makings of Parade IV.

  3. I agree with Iceman. Try to pick up Oduya cheap and it could be huge. I realize that he is 2 years older now, but he is such a warrior. I would love to have him for the playoffs.

  4. TvR was definitely bad, very bad, this game. I usually don’t talk about a Blackhawks player being awful on the ice but tonight TvR definitely fell into that category. His decision making was pretty poor. He seems to run hot and cold.
    Good to get those 2 points.
    Go Blackhawks!!!!

  5. I’m with ya Iceman on the hope Stan picks up a d-man – hopefully Oduya.

    Defensive zone play was, at times, a dumpster fire again tonight. And yes, poor defensive zone play isn’t all on the d-men, but usually it starts with a poor play from a d-man and then gets chaotic from there. Too many times one of our d-men hesitates when he gets the puck along the boards and that split second of hesitation is all the opposing forechecker needs to pin the defender on the boards and that usually results in the opponent holding the puck in the zone and off we go on a Chinese fire drill. TvR and Rozsival are the 2 d-men who do it most often.

    Therefore, Stan please go get Oduya.


    That is a much stronger d-corps. Perhaps a Cup winning d-corps.

  6. Hawks were fabulous in the first and third periods.

    Announcers Gord Miller and Pierre McGuire kept noting that Kruger was planted to the bench and that Kero was out there in important minutes. Very telling if you ask me.

    TVR another disastrous game against St. Louis. Blowout on the first goal, penalty resulted in the second goal.

    Kempny is getting better with more ice time and the coaches’ confidence. Great to see.

  7. Craig… Kruger has to still be hurt… guessing he might need wrist/hand surgery… but doesn’t want it until the Summer??? cuz- he would miss PO’s if he had it now.

    Kero- good chance he is the replacement next year when Kruger is most likely another Cap casualty…

    Kempny looked good again… reads getting better and better.

    Oh My Darling- Oh My Darling… gonna make some fat stacks soon!

    Panik had some jump tonite.

  8. Iceman and Milton — ‘Oduya” = No thank you. (…and, if somehow Sharp creeps into this discussion, “No thank you”.)

  9. I will also make a hard pass on Oduya. Selective memory apparently.

    Speaking of Gord Miller…thank you NBC for getting a decent announcer. Kenny Albert who we usually get stuck with is awful. Forslund is also good but we don’t get him. Strader unfortunately has his health problems, so hopefullywe get to hear more of him in the near future.

  10. Nice they let the interference on Hartman along the boards go and the slash on Panik glove breakaway shot go. Kept playing through it even though thats bullshit.

    What a pass by 8 and what a pass by 72. Man are we going to be good for the coming yrs and we are dang good now.

  11. It was a typically good Hawks-Blues game. Blues coming off the break looked a bit slow to start the game, but they had a very good 2nd period. Darling was excellent to keep it close. Opening 20 minutes though showed the Hawks with lots of jump and it seemed they came after it pretty well in the 3rd.

    As stated by others already there were some really pretty passing plays that setup 3 goals by the Hawks.

    TvR had a really bad game by any standards. I just have no idea what could have been going through his mind on that first giveaway late in the 1st where the Blues scored. A terrible decision. All he had to do was just chip the puck off the boards instead of trying to stick handle a guy. Hawks owned the Blues in the 1st and should have come out of it with a 2 goal lead. While we should be critical of 57’s play last night, he does a decent job most of the time, and I don’t count myself as one of his detractors. Hawks are thankfully much deeper this year than last year on the back line.

    Hawks missed Hammer in a big way. It just shows us the fragility of a team when key components aren’t in the mix. Hawks will need all their core guys healthy if they are to get deep in the playoffs this year.

    Poor zone clears, giveaways on d zone exits by the Hawks were a negative from last nights game. I agree with positive comments regarding progress in Kempny’s game.

    Jurco looked like he fit in pretty well, but appeared to be gassed midway through shifts. He hasn’t played that many games this year due to injury so that would explain a lack of conditioning. He is a depth player add by SB.

    The continuing positive play of Kero makes Kruger a man on the way out next year imo.

    I think their were more Blues fans at the game last night than I could ever remember over the years. So they came up in buses eh? I am sure the ride home for them wasn’t much fun. I shouldn’t say that too loud though since I’m driving down from Chicago to Nashville for the Sat game. In comparison St Louis is a short hop.

    While it would be a competitive series, I believe the Hawks would love to get a chance at some payback against the hated Blues. The Cpt. would be at the top of that list.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  12. ‘While we should be critical of 57,s play last night ‘ T.V.R ,s play in the past has cost the Hawks wins , could have cost us a win last night .As soon as he is put under pressure in his own end he loses his composure ,in a big way . Now some of you T.V.R lovers feel this is part of ‘Growing Pains ‘ lets just Nick Leddy him to another team to Grow . Perhaps the Islanders would take him ,.,.,can you imagine Leddy and our little Trevor puttin in a solid 20 minuets of ice time together . I would pay good money to see that ! It is apparent we have limited choice on our D end ,no one on the farm to save us ,i realize this but .,.,.,.,.,we are screwed if T.V.R is going to be playing 20 min,s a game in the playoffs .

  13. TvR didn’t have a good game – to be sure. But to be fair, Keith didn’t do him any favors by passing him the puck where he had barely a split second to do something other than try to get it through the 3 opposing players right in front of him. He bobbled it got knocked down and the Blues scored seconds later. Throwing a teammate a hand grenade of leading him into a problem is more on the passer than the guy receiving the pass trying to avoid getting blown up. TvR’s main problem, as I see it, is that he doesn’t move the puck immediately and instead attempts to shield the puck and absorb the forechecker’s hit which more times than not starts the Chinese fire drill seen too often in the Hawks d-zone.

  14. I don’t know ER, while at the game last night and now watching the replay, TvR sure looked like he had plenty of time to make the right decision with that play where he gave it away on the 1st Blues goal. I didn’t see that as a buddy pass from Keith at all, but that is just my 2 cents worth.

    OT: While I might be accused of being judgemental with this observation, I can say that if you are at a Hawks game and 4 people sitting next 2 you in the row bring in Michelob Ultra bottles, it is highly unlikely they have much interest in watching a hockey game or drinking beer….

    Lets Go Hawks!

  15. Desjardins played an OK game. Glad to see him in the lineup instead of Tootoo.

    Hartman is the real deal. Seems to get the job done regardless of where he is slotted. His 200 foot game has improved significantly. Great job by the Hawks staff.

    I believe Q now has more trust in Kempny and is being prepped for a playoff run.

    Jurco, not sure what the point is… or future. I was a little surprised he earned 12+ minutes, but hats off to Q for working with SB. He will have to convince the fans that he is worth a sub 90 draft pick.

    As I have opined before, Darling will be a starter next year….the only question is, for who?

    For me, the Hawks offense is fine. The Hawks will go as far as the defense and goaltending will take them.

  16. I’m getting that old Spring Playoff feeling. Haven’t been able to watch as many games this year as in past, but am very lucky to be re-engaging the club and my old friends here at CI at what is certainly the perfect time. We are the best team in the league right now. Captain Formidable (“don’t call me Capt. Serious”) more than making up for lost time this year. And new young bloods glittering, gotta love 38 & 8. And the supporting cast much better than before with players like 14, 67, and, yes, even 11 – who is a lot better than several of the departed. But the blueline is the question mark as we look toward what is sure to be a deep run. We seem to re-load pretty well with forwards after painful salary cap exits, but don’t get the upgrades on D. TvR brutal, move him in a package if necessary for some real help on D right now.

  17. Phil, you may be right. It wasn’t as bad as a hand grenade pass but it just seemed like TvR’s options were limited once he got control of the puck, if he actually ever did get control of the puck – not sure.

  18. Even though it was after what you guys are talking about, having the other teams guy stick between 57 legs didnt help him stay on his feet. In terms of that 4 and 7 are prob more used to 2 hard passes and would have cleared off boards in a second. 4/7 and 2 have that kind of chemistry.

  19. Speaking of 12 plus minutes… anybody pay attention to Krugers TOI…or his shift chart? Missed damn near 15 minutes in the 3rd. Can’t tell me he’s not hurt. Or hurting. Especially when he’s not taking draws.

  20. Ernie – I suspect Kruger is hurt as well.

    The hole he’s quasi-leaving in the lineup matters, and that’s what I’d be targeting with a trade. A defensive center, good on draws, flips ice, drives possession, production subpar (i.e. cheap).

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