ST. LOUIS — The Chicago Blackhawks got a taste of postseason hockey when they faced the St. Louis Blues on Sunday afternoon.
The Blues — and the rest of the NHL — received an idea of how the Hawks will respond when pushed around. In a hard-hitting contest, the Hawks pulled out a 2-0 victory to extend their winning streak to five games. Corey Crawford made 30 saves to record his third shutout of the season and eighth of his career. He got offensive support from Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa as the Hawks improved to 32-5-4 on the season.
The gritty Blues, who are battling for a spot in the postseason, tried to minimize the Hawks’ speed but couldn’t mount much offensively and fell to 23-16-2.
Bickell found the back of the net in the second when he tucked in a rebound of a Viktor Stalberg shot past Blues goalie Brian Elliott. It was the first score yielded by Elliott in 214 minutes of play.
In the third, Hossa scored with the Hawks short-handed. Jonathan Toews won a faceoff in the Blues zone and the puck went straight Hossa who then blasted a rocket from the top of the right circle through Elliott’s pads.
Center Dave Bolland returned for the Hawks after missing four games with a lower leg injury but Patrick Sharp was out with an upper-body injury.
“(Sharp) is day-to-day,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said before the game. The veteran likely won’t play against the Stars on Monday night but Quenneville said the injury is not considered serious, saying, “he should be fine.” Sharp played the last two games after sitting out 14 consecutive with a left shoulder injury.