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: