Blackhawks

Halak, Blues quiet Hawks

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Halak, Blues quiet Hawks

ST. LOUIS The Blackhawks got pushed around physically against the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Nevertheless, they could have delivered a few blows of their own on the power play.

But once again they were punch less on it.

Andrew Brunette scored an early third-period goal but the Blackhawks went 0 for 5 on the power play en route to a 5-1 loss to the Blues on Tuesday night. The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Blackhawks, who remain in sixth place in the Western Conference.

The Blackhawks lost defenseman Sami Lepisto in the second period when he collided with David Perron and Perron fell on the back of his left leg. Lepisto struggled to get to the locker room, putting no weight on that leg; coach Joel Quenneville said hes day to day, and that it wasnt serious.

The Blues came with their usual brawn and bruising style hometown man Brandon Bollig had a long and impressive fight with Ryan Reaves in the first period. The Blues came with scoring, too, with TJ Oshie giving them a 1-0 lead a little over five minutes into the game.

Yeah, that was probably one of their goals tonight was to play physical against us. It seemed to work for them. But we have to have a better start than that, Patrick Kane said. We knew they were going to come out hard. Giving up a goal that early its tough to come back, especially against a team like that thats content to just play defense and not give up anything.

But the Blackhawks had their best chance to fight back with their power play.

But on a night when they needed it most, it disappeared.

We didnt push back in certain areas but I thought we had a chance to get ourselves back in with the power play and thats where we lost the momentum, coach Joel Quenneville said. Certain guys tonight didnt have the pace or intensity you need on the power play. You have to work harder on the power play, its not a given.

As good as the Blackhawks had played the Blues recently, they didnt have that same energy and fight against them on Tuesday. Their puck possession was rough and the Blues were more than happy to take advantage of mistakes. That included a mishandled puck on one of the power plays, which the Blues Vladimir Sobotka, to be specific turned into a short-handed goal.

We clicked (on the power play) in three games but tonight we couldnt settle the puck down, couldnt make a pass, said Marian Hossa. We didnt deserve to win tonight.

The Blackhawks didnt have the punch they needed against the Blues, especially on that power play. Their special teams had been strong in recent victories. They failed them tonight.

Special teams are something to get momentum off, even when its not scoring a goal maybe its puck possession or a couple blocks on the PK. Tonight they won that, and thats tough, Stalberg said. We have a lot of games this year where those kinds of chances take us out of the game.

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

Blackhawks make it official: Corey Crawford is back

He’s back.

Corey Crawford will start in goal for the first time since Dec. 23, 2017 when the Blackhawks host the Arizona Coyotes, coach Joel Quenneville confirmed after morning skate on Thursday morning.

"It’s exciting," Quenneville said. "I’m sure he’s looking forward to it and we’re all excited about it as well. It’ll be a fun situation for the guys, seeing him back in the net as well. So we’re looking for everyone to be excited about tonight’s game."

The two-time Stanley Cup champion was medically cleared to practice from his concussion on Oct. 1, but the Blackhawks wanted to give Crawford as much time as he needed to get his conditioning and puck-tracking skills up to game speed before putting him into game action.

"It feels good to be back to myself," Crawford said on Wednesday. "I'm feeling good, I'm feeling clear. It was a pretty long process. ... Practices have been great, been getting timing a little bit more and getting up to speed and reading shots and all that, so it'll be nice to finally get in one."

To make room for Crawford on the 23-man roster, the Blackhawks will assign forward Luke Johnson to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League. Brandon Saad, who wore a white healthy scratch jersey all week at practice, will take his spot in the lineup.

For now, the Blackhawks will hang on to Anton Forsberg and carry three goaltenders as insurance as they get ready to start a seven-games-in-11-days stretch.

Crawford was 16-9-2 with a 2.27 goals against average, .929 save percentage and two shutouts in 28 games last season. The Blackhawks were 17-30-8 without him and finished last in the Central Division.

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

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USA TODAY

Sports Talk Live Podcast: Is Crawford ready to go?

Jimmy Greenfield, Connor McKnight, and Matt Spiegel join Kap on the panel to discuss Corey Crawford back on the ice for the first time in 10 months. The Bears have good news when it comes to Khalil Mack, who injured his ankle against the Dolphins.

Plus, Fred Hoiberg announces that Jabari Parker is coming off the bench for the season opener.

Listen to the full episode here or via the embedded player below: