The Blues did not start well Wednesday night in Chicago. It looked bleak. But the Blues weathered the storm, kept it close until the second period and then stayed in control until the end in a 3-2 victory. As a few of us said in the comments of the game day thread Wednesday night, emotions were high, both teams played with a lot of intensity and it felt a lot like a playoff game. Hopefully it won't be the only game we can describe as a postseason game for the Blues.
David Backes was in the right place at the right time twice. He was cutting to the net when Paul Kariya stole the puck, took it in deep and then put it in the slot for the quick shot on net. Then on the power play T.J. Oshie at the right point made the diagonal pass to the left slot for the big one-timer -- the bread and butter play for Brad Boyes last season. The winning goal was off the stick of Jay McClement who tipped in a Roman Polak shot after the defenseman stole the puck from the Hawks on the breakout.
Chris Mason gave up a breakaway to Patrick Kane and a shorthanded goal to Marian Hossa, but it was enough to hang on for the victory.
It doesn't pain me as much as it would have 18 years ago to say that the Hawks are a dangerous team that flies around the ice and is a threat to score each time down the ice. When they get room to skate, it's hard to keep up. And that's the key, not giving the Hawks that space. Play physical, get under Kane's skin, shut down the defense at the blue line and the Hawks are beable as the Blues showed.
St. Louis is five points out of the final playoff spot with three teams between them and the Red Wings in eighth. The win Wednesday night gives some optimism for tonight and keeps the playoff discussion going. Blow it tonight and Saturday and all of a sudden you'll see us talking about the draft.