Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews are the heart and soul of the Chicago Blackhawks, and if for some reason you don’t believe that—and why wouldn’t you—look no further than Saturday night for evidence. Kane netted a goal and an assist, and Toews got his fifth-career hat-trick. The game also extended the Blackhawks streak of wins when Toews and Kane score to 44 games.
And while the well-known dynamic duo led the Blackhawks scoring charge on the night, they were not without help. Nick Schmaltz had two assists and a blocked shot on the night. Schmaltz was also brilliant at times in possession of the puck, finessing his way to the front of the net multiple times to create havoc for Blues’ goaltender Jake Allen.
Cam Ward was once again solid with 30 saves on the night. He made some particularly nifty saves in the 3rd period, when the Chicago defense killed off the Blues power play to keep them in the game.
Three of the Blackhawks next five games are at the United Center, and they could certainly use the home-ice advantage. Chicago was out-hit and clearly the less disciplined team at the Enterprise Center, giving up two goals in 22 seconds at one point in the 3rd period, before settling in down the stretch.
Another factor that aided the Blackhawks was the aggressiveness of rookie Henri Jokiharju and second-year player Alex DeBrincat. The two youngsters combined for six shots and four assists.
The all-around group-effort meant that Chicago’s inability to convert on power plays didn’t derail them (0-for-4 on power plays). But if they plan to have success against St. Louis in their many future matchups, they will need to work diligently on special teams play in practice.
St. Louis had a power play percentage of 33.3 percent, scoring on two of their six chances. Chicago had decent awareness on these possessions but struggled mightily when it came to clearing the puck.
The Central Division is (as of Saturday night) the only division in the NHL in which multiple teams have four points in the standings, so Joel Quenneville's squad will be looking to ride “The Captain" to a third straight win on Sunday night against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Saturday’s 5-4 win over the Blues marks the first time in franchise history that the Blackhawks have started the season with two overtime wins. As thrilling as these two OT victories have been, Quenneville and co. are certainly hoping they can take care of business with a regulation-time win on Sunday.