(MCT) — ST. LOUIS — A little adversity never hurt anyone. Especially the surging Blackhawks.
Though their starting goaltender wasn’t around to see it, the Hawks continued their assault on the NHL record book with a 3-0 victory over the Blues on Thursday night at the Scottrade Center.
Goalie Corey Crawford made it through the first period but didn’t come out for the second after suffering an upper-body injury. That didn’t slow the Hawks as they rode backup Ray Emery to extend their streak to 20 games to start the season without a loss in regulation and 26 in a row overall dating to 2011-12.
“We have thick skin,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who scored two goals — including one 12 seconds into the game off a terrific passing play from Duncan Keith to Marian Hossa to Brandon Saad and finally to Toews — to help the Hawks improve to 17-0-3. “Whether there’s momentum going against us or a call we didn’t like or any sort of adversity that might get in our way, we’ve always been positive and stuck with it. We’ve been hungry and determined to win every single game.”
Andrew Shaw also had a goal and Hossa added two assists to provide the offense, while Emery made 15 saves as the Hawks recorded their third shutout of the season.
Crawford was credited with the victory after making six saves in the first. After the period, he gingerly made his way off the ice and didn’t return. Coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford would travel back to Chicago with the team Thursday night and is day-to-day.
“Hopefully, it’s just our training staff being cautious and he’ll be healthy,” Toews said. “In a case like that, we know Ray can step in and take care of the job.”
Emery did just that, shutting down a Blues team that was without key offensive players Andy McDonald, Vladimir Tarasenko and Alexander Steen. Jaroslav Halak suffered the loss in goal as he couldn’t match Crawford and Emery.
“The guys played a really good defensive game,” Emery said. “You’re kind of surprised when you get to go in in the second. You have to be prepared for that, (but) that’s why I’m there.”
Hawks penalty killers were again outstanding as the units blanked the league’s top power play in four opportunities. The Blues entered the game scoring 30.6 percent of the time with a man advantage but came up empty on five shots against the Hawks.
“Our team game, led by the goalies, was really strong in all zones,” Quenneville said. “Penalty killing did a great job against the top power play in the league. Everybody contributed in a comparable way like we’ve had all year.
“We’ve had some good games to date, but that might have been the best.”