After 20 minutes, the Blackhawks were getting pushed around and found themselves down 1-0.
But in the second period, it appeared the Hawks got sick of being abused. The monster was awakened, and the Blackhawks dropped the hammer on the red-hot Blues.
When Michael Frolik’s empty net goal hit the back of the cage with just over a minute left in regulation, the game was already out of reach for the Blues. The big-time players showed up for Chicago, and the Hawks made a strong statement against their division rival.
Jonathan Toews got the Hawks on the board early in the second period, his 15th goal of the year. Chris Stewart gave the Blues the lead back just over eight minutes into the second, but that’s all the scoring St. Louis would get.
Marian Hossa tied the game with a short-handed goal, and Patrick Sharp scored the game-winning goal on the power play as the Hawks made a stunning change in their approach. It all appeared to change when Kris Russell and Patrick Kane got into a “conversation” behind the net. Once Daniel Carcillo joined that party, Toews and David Backes exchanged words in the corner.
Toews was clearly as mad as he’s been on the ice all year, and that moment appeared to completely change the game plan for Chicago. The Hawks were no longer accepting blows from the Blues, but were now looking to be the initiator of the contact.
Hossa scored a power play goal in the third, the 399th of his NHL career, and the game was blown open.
Niklas Hjalmarsson was credited with seven blocked shots on the night and had a rare assist on Toews’ goal. Kane and Duncan Keith had two assists each, Sharp and Toews had a goal and an assist each, and Hossa led the way with two goals in the game.
Lost in the physical play was a strong night from Ray Emery. He made 23 stops in the game, many of which were in traffic and on tough shots. The Blackhawks also killed all four of St. Louis’ power play opportunities on the night.
On the other side of the ice, Saturday night was the first time all year that Brian Elliot allowed more than two goals. He was charged with four of the Blackhawks goals on 35 shots. David Perron scored in his first game back after over a year off because of a concussion.
Chicago was well represented in the stands and on the ice in St. Louis, and the Hawks will return home to play a Phoenix team that embarrased them at the United Center just a week ago.
Despite all of their glaring weaknesses, the Hawks have now won four of their last five games. They have killed 13 of 16 penalties (81.3 percent PK) over those five games.