Despite missing Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Johnny Oduya and Brandon Saad, the Chicago Blackhawks topped the St. Louis Blues 4-2 at the United Center Sunday afternoon in a game whose score flattered the visiting side. Chicago controlled the play from almost the very start, outshooting the Blues 35-23 and being responsible for 60.8 percent of all corsi events.
Saad was a healthy scratch against St. Louis, but the other three have been out of the lineup for several games now. Despite being so shorthanded, the Blackhawks have won three games in a row against probable playoff teams and have been playing their best hockey in months. The multiple month slump that the team was mired in prior to the recent stretch is becoming a mere memory.
Jeremy Morin has been a revelation, providing physical play and plenty of offense; the young winger has been Chicago’s best player in each of its last two games, and is making a serious case to stay in the lineup even when Toews and Kane return from injury.
The news hasn’t been quite so positive with Corey Crawford, unfortunately. He has been letting in a few more soft goals than Chicago would have liked in recent games, a nasty tendency that used to be a major problem in his game (most notably in the 2012 playoffs). Still, Crawford has managed to stay mentally engaged and recover from these instances, refusing to let another shot past him after a regrettable one has. Specifically, this has occurred against both St. Louis and the Minnesota Wild.
Following a comparatively miserable few months, the Blackhawks’ play is trending up at exactly the right time.