Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.
Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.
After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.
As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.
St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.
Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.
It’s Rivalry Night on NBCSN and the Detroit Red Wings will spark new battles in the Eastern Conference and will start tonight at home against the Buffalo Sabres at 8 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game online.
The Detroit Red Wings have been wanting to be part of the Eastern Conference for some time and tonight they’ll begin finding out if it was worth the trouble finding out if the grass truly is greener on the other side of the fence. Dealing with the Buffalo Sabres provides a curious first test.
Buffalo enters the game with many fans and prognosticators not giving them much of a chance this season. They’ll also start the year as one of the youngest teams in the league. 2013 first-round pick Rasmus Ristolainen made the team and will get the job of trying to find a way to wrangle Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg in his first game. Good luck, kid.
Detroit’s cast of characters is almost exactly the same group as it was last year. One big difference is the addition of Daniel Alfredsson. While he’s sure to spark some heat when they play Ottawa, Alfie has killed the Sabres in his career scoring 42 of his 426 career goals against them, the most against any one team. Don’t think Sabres fans aren’t fully aware of that.
Related: Pro Hockey Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $4,000 Fantasy Hockey league tonight (Wednesday). It’s just $2 to join and first prize is $600. Starts at 7:30pm ET. Here’s the link.
Where things get most interesting is the battle in goal. Detroit’s Jimmy Howard showed last season he’s capable of being the kind of goalie the Red Wings need to be successful. His play against Anaheim and Chicago in the playoffs helped reassure fans things are just fine between the pipes.
Buffalo’s Ryan Miller has a bit of a different look at things this season. While he’s still the “man” for the Sabres, his future with the team is going to be a source of speculation all year as he’s in the final year of his contract and will be focus of rumors all season. He can help keep that talk going by playing out of his mind starting tonight against the high-powered Wings.
Yesterday’s action-packed Wednesday Rivalry Night game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins produced a .55 household rating, the highest regular season mark in NBC Sports Network history.
That 6-5 Flyers win also drew the second highest average of viewers in the network’s history, only following another Wednesday Rivalry Night game (Boston Bruins-New York Rangers on Jan. 23) for the top spot in that category. Wednesday Rivalry Night has clearly been a hit so far, as the short-running special claimed four of the five regular season averages for viewership in NBC Sports Network history:
Rangers-Bruins, Jan. 23, 2013: 956K viewers
Flyers-Penguins, Feb. 20, 2013: 901K viewers
Flyers-Bruins, Oct. 6, 2011: 874K viewers (the only game on this list that wasn’t a Wednesday Rivalry Night match)
Blackhawks-Wild, Jan. 30, 2013: 827K viewers
Bruins-Canadiens, Feb. 6, 2013: 771K viewers
NBC Sports Network was the highest rated channel in Pittsburgh and the top-rated cable network in Philadelphia during the game.
This is all impressive stuff, especially since there have only been five weeks of Wednesday Rivalry Night so far. Perhaps that series will take all of the top five spots by the end of the 2013 season?
(All information via an NBC press release.)