Monday, Feb. 21, 2011
By Tracey Myers
ST. LOUIS Jonathan Toews had seen enough.
The Chicago Blackhawks had played an awful first 20 minutes against the St. Louis Blues, turning the puck over, playing shoddy in other aspects and had a 2-0 deficit to show for it. So in that first intermission, the captain let off some steam.
We say what we have to do before the game and then to play that way the first 20 minutes was unacceptable, Toews said. The leaders in the locker room held the rest of the team accountable.
And over the next 20-plus, the Blackhawks were accountable.
Patrick Kane and Toews each scored their 20th goals of the season as the Blackhawks scored four second-period goals en route to their 5-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues on Monday afternoon. The Blackhawks are still listed in 11th place but are one of five Western Conference teams with 68 points.
Viktor Stalbergs early second-period goal was the spark for the Blackhawks, who got off to another woeful start to a Blues team that was hungry, determined and physical. For a Blackhawks team fighting for every possible point and a playoff spot, the first-period response or lack thereof -- was once again head-scratching.
I was venting a little frustration after first period because we say the same things over and over. We know St. Louis is going to come out hard. We know its going to be a tough game and we cant afford to go out there and blow the first period. After a while it sounds like a broken record, Toews said. Every guy understood going into that second period, and were happy with the response.
Dave Bolland scored a minute after Stalberg and Kanes goal came about three minutes after Bollands. Toews added his power-play goal to cap the four-goal period. The spread-out scoring was a welcome sight, considering the Blackhawks top line had done the bulk of it lately.
Youre not going to win with one line. It shows the depth we do have here. Thats what we need to do down the stretch here, acting head coach Mike Haviland said. It jump-starts you when other lines start to score. You can see the whole attitude change on the bench when we got that (Stalberg) goal. We just have to keep pushing that, push each other and challenge each other.
Corey Crawford won his second game in as many days, stopping 31-of-34 shots. Crawford wasnt surprised that Toews spoke up after the first.
Jonnys done that all year. He knows what to say at the right time, Crawford said. He told us to relax and play our game that we know we can. The first period was gone and there was nothing more we could do about it. We just had to go out there and play.
Marian Hossa added an empty-net goal with a second remaining. Jake Dowells hustle down ice on that last sequence saved an icing call and led to the Blackhawks final goal.
The Blackhawks dug in for this one. It was a good departure from other bad starts, which too often led to bad finishes. Their captain talked. They listened. Now they need this two-game winning streak to turn into something substantial.
This could be a big thing to jump-start us here, Haviland said. I think it was more for us to realize that dont get too high after wins and that we have to go back to work. Maybe it did take a goal in the second period or something said in the first intermission to get us going. Im proud of those guys.
The St. Louis Blues had a goal waived off in the third period when forward BJ Crombeen was ruled in the crease. Crawford said the Blues were in and around him all day.
They were doing that all night, not giving me a chance to get out and challenge, Crawford said. I let the refs know it was their plan to do that.
Fernando Pisani (head), Nick Boynton and John Scott (healthy) were Mondays scratches. Haviland said there was no change in Pisanis status.
Tracey Myers is CSNChicago.com's Blackhawks Insider. Follow Tracey on Twitter @TramyersCSN for up-to-the-minute Hawks information.