Wednesday was a busy day for the Blackhawks.
Patrick Kane was revealed as the new cover boy for Sports Illustrated, and the league announced their investigation into his summer was over. GoPro released a video featuring Duncan Keith, and the Hawks “found out” they would play the Blues in the 2017 Winter Classic.
Then they had to play the Blues in St. Louis on national television.
The game started with the Hawks dominating the action and getting plenty of opportunities thanks to the predictable parade of Blues to the penalty box. David Backes and Paul Stastny each served minor penalties without Chicago converting, and then Ryan Reaves happened.
The hit. pic.twitter.com/Nc8Z3IeJlg
— NHL on NBC (@NHLonNBCSports) March 10, 2016
Reaves, who was suspended three games exactly two weeks ago, received a five-minute major for charging and a game misconduct. The penalties led to a healthy debate about whether or not contact was initiated with Christian Ehrhoff’s head, but the gif above clearly shows a repeat offender leaving his feet to follow through high with no intent to play the puck.
The Blackhawks made the major penalty count, but only once. Andrew Ladd redirected a Teuvo Teravainen shot into the net for his second goal since rejoining the Hawks.
During the second, Jonathan Toews was run into the boards by Jaden Schwartz. The hit wasn’t dirty, but for no good reason the door to the Blues bench was open and Toews caught the edge awkwardly. He went to the room briefly for attention but returned later in the second.
Somehow, there were no penalties called in the second period, and the Ladd goal held up as the only marker in the opening 40 minutes of action.
In the third, the Blackhawks took their turns in the box and their penalty killing woes nearly cost them critical points.
On the Hawks’ second penalty of the period – for too many men – David Backes redirected a Kevin Shattenkirk shot past Corey Crawford to tie the game. Moments later with Ehrhoff in the box, Troy Brouwer gave the Blues a 2-1 lead with 6:40 left in regulation.
St. Louis held the lead until Crawford was pulled for an extra attacker. Artemi Panarin unloaded to tie the game with 77 seconds left in regulation.
Overtime came and went without a goal, and two teams playing a really good, physical game were forced to decide the contest in a skills competition. It would be only the second shootout for the Hawks in their 68th game of the season.
Crawford stopped 28 of 30 in regulation and overtime, while Jake Allen stopped 33 of 35 on the other end of the rink. Both goaltenders were superb the entire night.
The shootout saw Patrik Berglund and Panarin score in the first three shooters to extend the contest, but both goaltenders remained solid. Brouwer beat Crawford in the fifth round, but Artem Anisimov beat Allen. Shattenkirk scored in the sixth round and Teuvo Teravainen had Allen beat… but hit the post. The Blues escaped with a 3-2 win.
With his injury taking him out of action for part of the second period, Toews still won 15 of 24 faceoffs and was credited with an assist in 18:45 on the ice. Anisimov won only two of 15 faceoffs in the game.
Panarin, Kane and Ehrhoff led Chicago with five shots on net. Duncan Keith skated 28:56 and finished tied with Trevor van Riemsdyk with a team-leading three blocked shots; TvR skated 18:52 in the loss.
Newcomer Dale Weise continues to be limited by coach Joel Quenneville. He skated only 7:20 on Wednesday night, picking up only one hit in 11 shifts. Tomas Fleischmann put four shots on net in 16:28 and saw time on both special teams units.
Chicago and Dallas are now tied for first place in the Central Division with St. Louis only one point back. The Hawks are in Dallas on Friday night.