Big Names Loom Large In Chicago Blackhawks’ Series Win
The Chicago Blackhawks took Game 6 easily from the St. Louis Blues, winning the series in the process. Some of Chicago’s best players were at their absolute finest, imposing their will on the less talented Blues roster.
Duncan Keith was the best player on the ice Sunday afternoon, racking up a goal, three assists and a slew of memorable keep-ins in the offensive zone. Per the Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus, Joel Quenneville said the performance might have been the best he’d ever seen from Keith.
The incredible value that Keith has to the Blackhawks’ puck possession and transition games cannot be understated; it was on display all series against the Blues and was at its most obvious in Game 6.
Patrick Sharp notched a goal after a horrific first five games of the series, a promising sign for Chicago as it moves forward. It may be that getting even strength minutes with the revitalized Patrick Kane was all Sharp needed; the two have always worked well together offensively. Ben Smith, the apparent solution to the yearlong second line center problem, was strong playing alongside those two.
Jonathan Toews came up huge once again. He scored the game-winning goal in three of the Blackhawks’ four wins against St. Louis, including Game 6. It seems that the shoulder injury that was clearly slowing him down during the first two games of the series is no longer bothering him; the same goes for Kane’s knee sprain.
Finally, Corey Crawford was fantastic. Chicago couldn’t stay out of the penalty box all series long, and things were no different in Game 6. Crawford, who saved 35 of 36 St. Louis shots in the tilt, was the primary reason why the Blues got nothing out of their six power plays in the series clincher.
The Blackhawks now await the winner of the series between the Minnesota Wild and the Colorado Avalanche. Whichever team is the opponent in Round 2, Chicago has to be feeling pretty confident about its chances with so many stars playing at the peak of their games.