St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks

Discuss: Blackhawks edge Blues 4-2, keep pace with Avalanche

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The Chicago Blackhawks kept their hopes of home ice in the first round of the playoffs alive after beating the rival St. Louis Blues 4-2 at United Center.

Marcus Kruger’s goal 56 seconds into the third period proved to be the game-winner for Chicago. Jeremy Morin had a goal and assisted on Patrick Sharp’s in the second period to lead the way for Chicago. Corey Crawford stopped 21 shots to earn the win. Ben Smith added the empty-net goal to provide the final score.

Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Sobotka scored for St. Louis. Brian Elliott made 31 saves.

The win gives the Blackhawks 105 points and moves them to one point behind the second place Colorado Avalanche in the Central Division. Those two teams are destined to face each other in the playoffs and the higher seed will have home ice advantage.

The downside for Chicago? Colorado has two games in hand including their battle tonight in Denver against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

A few things to take with you into the comments…

— Sharp’s 33 goals leads the Blackhawks. If Patrick Kane hadn’t gotten hurt, those two would be having quite the battle for the team lead there.

— Morin may not be a prolific scorer, but he was recalled when Kane was injured and provided the spark they needed this afternoon.

— We know Elliott is not Ryan Miller, but it’s tough to put him at fault on the Chicago goals. The Blues defense got a bit outworked at times and they turned into goals. Can’t imagine Blues coach Ken Hitchcock likes seeing that.

— Marian Hossa may not have had a point in the game, but his work shorthanded and at even strength was impressive. Maybe let’s throw his name in the hat for the Selke Trophy?

— How about the season Jaden Schwartz is having. He scored his 24th goal in the first period and is providing a lot of that secondary scoring the Blues have been dying for the past couple seasons. Good stuff from the former Colorado College Tiger.

— How about that fight/hugfest between Brandon Bollig and Ryan Reaves? Have a look at it here.

If you missed the game, here are the highlights of the Blackhawks’ win:

Ulf Samuelsson leaves Rangers, takes Carolina’s AHL gig

Ulf Samuelsson, Alain Vigneault
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The ‘Canes made a fairly big coaching splash on Tuesday, announcing they hired New York Rangers assistant coach Ulf Samuelsson to become the new bench boss in AHL Charlotte.

“Ulf has built a very strong coaching resume during a decade behind the bench in the AHL, NHL and Swedish league,” Carolina GM Ron Francis said in a release. “He has a proven history of helping to develop young players and understands the organizational culture that we are building here.”

Samuelsson, who won back-to-back Stanley Cups with Francis in Pittsburgh during the 90s, has spent the last three seasons as Alain Vigneault’s right-hand man in New York, helping the Rangers advance to the Stanley Cup Final in ’14 and the Eastern Conference Final last season.

Prior to joining the Rangers, he spent two seasons as head coach for Modo of the Swedish Hockey League.

Samuelsson will replace Mark Morris in Charlotte, after Morris accepted the head coaching gig at St. Lawrence University. Morris had only been on the job for one year, having inherited the position from former ‘Cane Jeff Daniels.

Report: Marleau won’t face supplemental discipline for hit on Rust

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It sounds like Patrick Marleau won’t be suspended for his hit on Penguins forward Bryan Rust (top) in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

After the game, Marleau told reporters that he was pretty confident he wouldn’t be suspended and it sounds like he’s right.

Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan didn’t see things the same way.

“It’s a blindside hit to the head,” he said. “[Marleau] gets a penalty and I’m sure the league will look at it.”

Marleau was given a two-minute penalty for an illegal hit to the head on the play.

Rust played a single shift after taking the hit, but he went to the locker room after that and didn’t return. Sullivan said he’s day-to-day. It’s unclear if Rust will practice with the team on Tuesday.

Former Flyer Rick MacLeish passes away at age 66

MacLeish
Flyers.nhl.com
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Former Philadelphia Flyers forward Rick MacLeish passed away on Monday night. He was 66-years-old. The organization confirmed the news early Tuesday morning. MacLeish was battling meningitis as well as kidney and liver problems, per Philly.com.

“With the passing of Rick MacLeish, the Flyers have lost one of their legends,” Flyers President Paul Holmgren said in a release. “A good father, grandfather, teammate and friend, Rick will be missed by all who were fortunate to come and know him over the years. His happy and friendly demeanor was front and center everywhere Rick went. Today, our thoughts and prayers are with Rick’s wife, Charlene, his daughters, Danielle and Brianna along with his grandchildren. May he rest in peace.”

MacLeish first put on a Flyers jersey during the 1970-71 season. He would go on to score 349 goals and 759 points in 846 NHL games with Philadelphia, Hartford, Pittsburgh and Detroit. MacLeish also scored what is considered to be the most important goal in Flyers history when he netted the opening goal in Game 6 of the 1974 Stanley Cup Final against Boston. The Flyers would clinch their first Stanley Cup that night.

He won a pair of Stanley Cups with the Flyers and was named an NHL All-Star three times in his career.

PHT Morning Skate: Nick Bonino has been pretty clutch this postseason

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PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.

Pascal Dupuis wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune.

Matt Cullen also wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune called “Hockey Dad”.

Dainius Zubrus is making his third trip to the cup final, but he still hasn’t won one. (Puck Daddy)

–Watch the highlights from Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final. (Top)

–Here’s the Punjabi call of Nick Bonino‘s game-winning goal. (Streamable)

–Speaking of Bonino, he’s been pretty clutch this postseason:

–The NHL still wants to play an outdoor game on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. (Ottawa Sun)