Hawks best Blues 4-3 in shootout
CHICAGO (MCT) — Seven times during Dave Bolland’s NHL career he had attempted to score in a shootout and seven times he had come away empty.
On the eighth attempt, Bolland finally broke through and helped the Chicago Blackhawks gain a critical second point Thursday night with a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues at the United Center.
“You get 20,000 fans screaming and yelling and you’re thinking of so many moves in your head of what to do,” said Bolland, who deked and danced his way toward goaltender Jaroslav Halak before tucking in a forehand for the only score in the shootout. “For me, it was just going down and whatever came into my head to try to put it in. You’re not really sure what to put in. Should I shoot or deke or just bury my head and put it through him?”
At the other end, Corey Crawford was busy stopping four attempts against him to earn the victory that snapped a two-game losing skid for himself and the Hawks.
“Our guys played well,” said Crawford, who has stopped 38 of 48 career attempts against him in shootouts for a .792 save percentage, which leads all active NHL goalies with a minimum of 15 attempts. “I just got in the zone there in the shootout.”
The victory put the Hawks on the brink of their fourth consecutive postseason berth and pulled them to within one point of the fifth-place Nashville Predators in the Western Conference and two back of the Detroit Red Wings in fourth.
In regulation, the Hawks got goals from Bryan Bickell, Andrew Brunette and Patrick Sharp and looked like they would cruise to victory before they coughed up a two-goal, third-period lead when Jason Arnott and David Perron scored for the Blues.
“I thought we played really well all game long, just a couple of goals against we wish we could have back,” said Sharp, who scored off a two-on-none break after taking a pass from Viktor Stalberg. “At the end of the day we got the win.”
Alexander Steen also scored for the Blues, who with the point continued on a path to the Presidents’ Trophy, awarded the team with the most points in the league.
Bickell got things rolling for the Hawks when he ripped a wrist shot from the top of the left circle past Halak midway through the opening period. The lead was short-lived — very — as Steen came back nine seconds later to tie it up.
After a scoreless second, the Hawks took the lead early in the third after Brunette scored off a wild goalmouth scramble. With the Blues’ Vladimir Sobotka sprawled in the net, Brunette shoveled in a rebound of a Patrick Kane attempt.
Later in the period, the Hawks extended the margin to 3-1 when Sharp and Stalberg broke in two-on-none and Sharp finished with a one-timer.
Again, the Blues didn’t waste time in coming back as Arnott cut it to 3-2 just 55 seconds later with a score from in close. Perron tied it with 1:32 left in regulation to set up the shootout.
“The extra point was important,” said Hawks coach Joel Quenneville, who took the advice of assistants Mike Haviland and Mike Kitchen to insert Bolland in the shootout. “We ... did a lot of good things.”