It was imperative that they beat their hated rivals. The Chicago Blackhawks did just that, demolishing the division and league-leading St. Louis Blues by a score of 4-0 Wednesday night, snapping their losing streak to the Blues and the Blues’ division winning streak. In the process, they chased the Blues’ new goalie Ryan Miller, but they may have suffered a big blow when Patrick Kane suffered an apparent leg injury.
The two teams were even for much of the first period, until the Blues gave up a power play late into the first period. Kane set Duncan Keith up for the goal on Miller. Andrew Shaw scored the second goal, this one in the second period. The goal was almost disallowed, but in the end, it was determined that Shaw’s stick was below the crossbar. Marcus Kruger made it 3-0 thanks to a beautiful pass by Peter Regin, and Ben Smith finished the scoring, earning Joel Quenneville his 700th win as an NHL head coach.
It wasn’t just the offense that shined tonight though; it was a shutout, after all. Special points goes to Keith laying a big hit on TJ Oshie (that the USA Olympic star smiled at). And Corey Crawford outshone the supposed star, making save after save. There were times where it looked that the Blues would get on the board, but Crawford stood on his head to stop them.
Unfortunately, the elephant in the room is Kane. Brendan Morrow fell on Kane’s leg, which forced Kane off the ice. Some sources, like Chris Kuc, said that the injury is not serious. However, Quenneville said that Kane could be out for three weeks. If this is the case, it’s a big blow to the Hawks. The injury bug is starting to bite them at the wrong time, and losing their star offensive weapon won’t help at all.
Still, it was a good win for the Hawks on the occasion of Michal Handzus‘s 1,000th game. The Blues had the Hawks’ (and the division’s) number all season. Now, however, the Blackhawks are beginning to find the momentum they need as they head down the stretch.
With the Winnipeg Jets beating the Colorado Avalanche, the Hawks are now in sole possession of second place in the Central Division, but Kane’s injury might be a problem. However, with the way they played after the injury occurred, it’s possible that it won’t affect them too much.
Until then, they might as well build off this win and go back on the hunt for a top spot in the playoffs.