Duncan Keith and Michal Roszival returned to the lineup to fortify a defensman corps in need of help. Patrick Kane extended his point scoring streak to 12 games and Corey Crawford made 29 saves to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-2 win.
Keith established his presence four minutes into the game, as he snapped a seeing-eye shot through traffic from the left point, that was redirected by Andrew Shaw past Blues goalie Jake Allen, for an early 1-0 lead. It was Shaw's second goal of the season.
Shaw goal pic.twitter.com/SRWpzQrCiN— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 15, 2015
Both Allen and Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford survived an even number of chances throughout the rest of the first period, including a Marian Hossa breakaway chance late, and the score remained 1-0 through the first period.
After his breakaway chance, Hossa was ridden hard into the boards by puppy-loving Blues captain David Backes. Jonathan Toews came to his linemate's aid, leading to a fracas in the corner and a penalty on Toews for an illegal hit to the head of Backes.
Backes returned the favor 3:30 into the second period by boarding Niklas Hjalmarsson behind the Blackhawks net. Once again, Toews stood up for a teammate, this time dropping the gloves with Backes. There may have been a question on whether Toews might receive supplemental discipline for his hit on Backes, but that was answered when Backes exacted his pound of flesh on Hjalmarsson.
Vladimir Tarasenko tied the score with 13:30 left in the second period, stuffing home a second chance after an odd-man rush. The rough play then continued as Marko Dano boarded Blues rookie Robby Fabbri. Tarasenko cashed in on the resulting power play with a wrist shot through traffic with about 12 minutes remaining to put the Blues ahead 2-1. Dano didn't play much after that, finishing with a 5:58 TOI.
Alex Pietrangelo apparently didn't appreciate something Patrick Kane said or did to him around the halfway point of the second period, leading to another scrum near the Blackhawks net. Brent Seabrook came along to help out, and Kane and Pietrangelo were both given minor penalties.
Trevor van Riemsdyk tied the score at two with five minutes remaining in the second period. Hossa dropped back a rebound from a Brent Seabrook point shot, and TVR one-timed it from the left circle for his second goal of the season.
Allen made the save of the night with 1:43 left, robbing Dano at the doorstep with a sprawled-out, glove hand save. The play was reviewed and the no-goal call on the ice was upheld.
Dano ties the game? Allen makes a crazy save, and even though the pucks probably across the line, it won't count. pic.twitter.com/i6QxbZinv9— Stephanie (@myregularface) November 15, 2015
Kane and rookie of the year candidate Artemi Panarin continued their hot play of late in the second period, connecting for Kane's 12th goal of the season on the power play with about 1:00 remaining, sending the Blackhawks into intermission with a 3-2 lead.
The Blackhawks survived the third period despite not getting a shot on goal through the first 13:30 of the third period. The Blues didn't exactly push the tempo either, managing only eight shots during that timeframe and both teams spending a lot of time in the neutral zone. St. Louis managed a couple loose-puck scrums in front of the net, but Crawford and the Hawks defense (finally at full-health) was up to the challenge. Artem Anisimov added an empty net goal with 47 seconds remaining after some nice puck movement by Hjalmarsson to move the final score to 4-2 and to secure a Hawks victory.
ONE, TWO, TREE THOUGHTS
New role for Kruger
Is two shifts too early for a line name? (Yes, it is.) Andrew, Teuvo and Marcus — the ATM line. Cash money. #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) November 15, 2015
The newly configured third line scored the game's first goal. It would be an interesting change of roles for Marcus Kruger, who has spent most of his career in more of a defensive role. If Teuvo Teravainen, Kruger, and Shaw can find some chemistry, that would make Coach Joel Quennville's job a lot easier. On the other hand, it might also drive up the price of Kruger's cap charge after this season if he starts producing some points.
Old vets stablize blueline
Having Keith back to play the workhorse minutes allows Quennville to not have to lean on Trevor Daley or a sixth defenseman for as many minutes as they have been playing. Roszival was good in 11:34, while Daley was at least mostly unnoticeable in his 8:43, which I'd consider a good thing. With two d-pairs he can lean on, Quennville no longer has to cover his eyes every time he sends out the third pairing.
Big divisional win
While not lost in the disappointment of giving up a big lead last week to the Blues, the Blackhawks may look back at allowing the Blues to steal two points in the standings with regret. That was a three-point swing. Good to see the Hawks rebound with a solid defensive effort and pick up a road win against a division opponent. In what looks like a highly competitive Central division, intra-divisional games are going to be a priority in order to make the playoffs and attempt to repeat as champions.
Special thanks to Stephanie Vail for her work on social media. She is a must-follow on Twitter @myregularface.