The Blackhawks made two fairly large mental mistakes and it was all St. Louis needed to turn a run-of-the-mill blowout into a hold on to your butts, scratch and claw fight for two points. Both of them came with the Hawks leading comfortably at 5-1 and the Blues looking ahead to their game tomorrow night against Washington.
At the halfway point of the second period and the puck rattling around the neutral zone, B.J. Crombeen gave an invitation to Nick Boynton to drop the gloves. Mind you, the Hawks were winning 5-1 and the Blues looked dead in the water. There is absolutely no reason for Boynton to fight Crombeen there. Only bad things could happen. Boynton accepted without even giving it a second thought.
Six minutes later, Dave Bolland took a horrendously bad penalty in the offensive zone. He labeled a Blues player with his back to the play. To make matters worse, Bolland saw the ref put his hand up and simply stared at the puck. All he had to do was touch the puck. Instead, the Blues gained possession, took the puck all the way down, and scored their second goal of the game with just under three minutes left in the second.
After that, the Blues gave the Hawks a scare no one thought was possible 45 minutes prior. They scored within the first five minutes of the third period when John Scott couldn’t get off the ice. Then Brad Boyes cleaned up a scramble in front to cut the lead to one.
A Dave Bolland delay of game penalty made things even more dicey. The Hawks killed it off, though, and the subsequent shift after, Patrick Kane cleaned up Viktor Stalberg’s shot that hit the post to give the Hawks a two-goal cushion. Then Jonathan Toews finished up a sweet dish from Tomas Kopecky on the power play to put the Blues away for good.
–I’m hardly a goaltending expert but when I notice from my couch how off Corey Crawford’s angles are when the puck is coming down the right wing, I’m pretty sure the opposition notices the same thing. Crawford left the far side of the net wide open multiple times but the Blues either couldn’t get the puck through or missed the net completely. The little dashes in the crease are your friend, Corey. They help you realize you’re drifiting off into Never-Never land.
–Jeremy Morin had a terrific first period. His aggressive forechecking led to the Hawks first two goals. He also collected his first career point in the second period when his dump-in took a crazy hop off the glass and Troy Brouwer blasted into the vacated net as Ty Conklin was hopelessly caught behind the net. More of this and the Hawks are going to have a very difficult decision in the next few games because six more games for Morin and a year will be burned off his entry level contract.
–Chalk up Andy MacDonald as another opponent who wants to murder Viktor Stalberg. For some reason, it seems like every game, someone from the other team is looking to tear Stalberg’s limbs off. MacDonald shoved Stalberg into the boards when his back was turned late in the third. By my unscientific count, this is seventh game in a row Stalberg has been run by opposition. Maybe he smells really good out on the ice.
–What’s even the point of complaining about Dave Bolland anymore? A -3 for Bolland tonight put him at an even 0. He has zero creativity in the offensive zone and quite frankly, the guy just isn’t very good right now. Maybe he’s a guy who needs higher stakes to elevate his game. Let’s hope so.