The Chicago Blackhawks earned a 4-2 victory Sunday night over their Central Division rivals, the St. Louis Blues, with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane headlining the show. Toews and Kane combined for four points in the victory, allowing Chicago to record their fourth straight win.
Scott Darling deserves an honorable mention in the win, stepping up in Corey Crawford’s absence, standing on his head and stopping 30 of the 32 shots he faced.
In his first game as a Blackhawk, Tomas Jurco had two shots on goal in 12:44 minutes of ice time.
Just over four minutes into the opening frame, Toews showed that his hot streak is not over yet, as he gave the Hawks an early 1-0 lead. A pass from Nick Schmaltz right onto Toews’ tape allowed him to put it up over Jake Allen for his 16th goal of the season. Since being put together on Feb. 2, the first line consisting of Toews, Schmaltz, and Richard Panik has been absolute fire, recording 15 goals, with Toews getting credit for seven of those.
With the Hawks on the power play just over 11 minutes into the first, some crisp passes back-and-forth between Kane and Toews allowed Kane to lift the puck over Allen to put Chicago ahead by two. Kane’s goal was his ninth tally in 10 games, and his 24th of the season. With an assist on Kane’s goal, Duncan Keith earned his 500th career point.
Despite Chicago holding the lead throughout the majority of the first period, a Trevor — or Travis — van Riemsdyk turnover allowed Magnus Paajarvi to steal the puck and go right through Darling’s five-hole, putting the Blues within one heading into the second.
At the eight-minute mark, Joel Edmundson was whistled for a slashing penalty, giving the Hawks a chance to regain their two-goal lead on the power play. Despite Chicago having chances on the delayed penalty call, no shots on the actual power play kept the score at 2-1.
Just after the Hawks came off the power play, van Riemsdyk was whistled for high-sticking, giving the Blues their second power play of the night. On the PP, Alex Pietrangelo tied it at 2-2 as he wired it off the post to put it past Darling, allowing both teams to earn a power play goal on the night.
Darling remained fantastic in the crease, keeping the score tied, with the Hawks holding a 31-23 edge in shots heading into the final frame.
With just over five minutes remaining in regulation, the seemingly unstoppable line of Kane, Panarin, and Anisimov went at it again, as a tape-to-tape pass from Panarin to Anisimov allowed Arty to tap the puck past Allen to give the Hawks the go-ahead goal.
Anisimov goal coming off the royal pass from Artemi Panarin. pic.twitter.com/NDaaffl1MM— Blackhawks Breakdown (@HawksBreakdown) February 27, 2017
Darling continued to be tested in the crease, with Paul Stastny and Colton Parayko recording six and seven shots on goal, respectively, but still unable to find the back of the net.
The Blues pressured the net late in the third with an extra attacker, but stellar attack in the defensive zone allowed Tanner Kero to get a shot on the Blues’ empty net and give the Hawks the 4-2 victory at home.
SCH 3 Stars
1. Jonathan Toews (1 goal, 1 assist)
2. Scott Darling (30 saves on 32 shots)
3. Patrick Kane (1 goal, 1 assist)
The Blackhawks have a two-day break before they host the Pittsburgh Penguins Wednesday night at 7 pm CT.