CHICAGO — The Blackhawks celebrated “Hockey Day in America” with a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Blues winning their third game since breaking a nine-game losing streak against the New York Rangers last week.
With 24 seconds left in the first period the Blues’ Jamie Langenbrunner kicked the puck past Corey Crawford and after a video review was ruled a McDonald goal. Overall Crawford stopped 29 of 30 shots making several saves on first period breakaway opportunities by Chris Steward and Andy McDonald.
Except for the one tough-luck first period goal Crawford was perfect while his team patiently chipped away at St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott who was attempting to build a second straight shutout. Entering today’s games St. Louis and the Rangers are tied for having allowed the fewest goals in the entire league at 114.
Duncan Keith found the twine for the Hawks on a pass from Patrick Sharp at 4:52 in the third frame. Then at 13:03 in the third period Keith dished to Dave Bolland who unlocked the Elliott combination for their second goal.
Marion Hossa racked up an empty-netter with 40 seconds left to give the Blackhawks a much needed goalie win.
With two months remaining in the Hawks 2011-2012 campaign there has been some speculation that Joel Quenneville’s job security could be on the bubble despite having a contract through the 2013-2014 season.
As long as the post-season appears an iffy proposition the pressure is likely to be on Quenneville as questions are being raised about the team’s systems–especially their 14th ranked power play.
Think Quenneville’s job is safe? Think again this is the NHL. Bob Hartley won the Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001 and got to Game 7 of the Western finals in 2002, and was axed 31 games into the ’02-03 season. Randy Carlyle is looking for work after winning the Cup in 2007 with the Anaheim and Peter Laviolette was fired in 2008 after winning the Cup with Carolina in 2006.
D Niklas Hjalarsson missed his sixth successive game with an upper body injury and will be re-evaluated before Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings.
The Blues will meet Chicago three more times. The Hawks are 2-1 against the Blues this season.