Hawks grind out the Blues with 4-2 win

Sunday is usually a day for rest and relaxation. On this Sunday afternoon the Blackhawks continued their hard worker bee mentality and were able to grind down the St. Louis Blues. Minus several key players and with Brandon Saad a healthy scratch again saw several maybe not as well known players, unless you follow the Rockford IceHogs, step up but none more than Jeremy Morin.

The plucky Morin had a whale of a game with a goal and an assist. Morin has been bounced between the Blackhawks and the IceHogs all year and this time he is looking to stick with the Hawks and make a case for himself with the coaches to put him on the ice. Fortitude is what Morin has displayed all year whether in Chicago or Rockford. 

In a behind the bench interview on NBC Blues’ coach Ken Hitchcock said the Hawks brought their hard workers looking to make the team and it paid off. The Hawks played a solid yet simple five man unit defensive game.

The scoring started off with the Blues scoring first on the power play. Andrew Shaw was sent to the sin bin after a retaliatory penalty and the Blues Jaden Schwartz cashed in to put the Blues up 1-0 getting it past Crawford. The period was feisty as the Blues came out mad after their 4-0 thumping yesterday from the Colorado Avalanche.

These young Hawks brought that edginess with them from Rockford and went toe to toe with the Blues. The second period is where the Hawks wore down the Blues. Midway through the period Brandon Bollig and Ryan Reaves again renewed their sparring date which seemed to punctuate the Hawks would not back down. Again the line of Bickell, Regin and Morin stood out and got the scoring started.

Jeremy Morin, Jeremy Morin, Jeremy Morin was again in the right place and the right time because of his hockey smarts and knowing where to be to score – at the net.

In a rare turnover by the Blues at their own blue line Bryan Bickell was able to steal the puck and shoot on Blues goalie Brian Elliott who gave up a rebound that was punched home by Morin as he crashed the net to tie the game at one goal apiece.

The period was a grindy, gritty period with the Hawks playing a defense first type of game that had to thrill coach Quenneville. Then in the closing seconds of the period again in the neutral zone Andrew Shaw was able to gain control of the puck and get it to Jeremy Morin who was streaking up the near side with Patrick Sharp on the far side on a two on one.

Morin made a hell of a play keeping the goalie guessing as to if he was passing or shooting, but what would an intelligent person do with a sharpshooter streaking along with you? Morin did the smart thing and made a beauty of a cross ice pass to Patrick Sharp who blasted it home for the Hawks to end the period up 2-1.

In the opening seconds of the third period more Hawks’ young guns wanted to join the party. Recently called up Joakim Nordstrom hit both goal posts but Marcus Kruger was able to tap a loose puck sitting in the crease home to put the Hawks up 3-1. The play was all set up by a Brandon Bollig huge hit along the boards causing a turnover.

Vladimir Sobotka was able to get one past Crawford late in the game which made things interesting with the game being 3-2 Hawks. The Blues pulled Elliott from the goal and Ben Smith was able to get a empty net goal to make it 4-2 Hawks.

The Blues are always referred to as a heavy, physical team which they are. What everyone forgets is that the Blackhawks can play that game too but they choose to play a skilled hockey game. If any team thinks that the Hawks will be willingly handing over their champion’s crown they have another thing coming and will be very surprised. 

The veterans like Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook and Hjalmarsson all played good games but it was the young Hawks like Morin, Nordstrom, Kruger & Smith that are developing and gaining valuable ice time which will make them a very dangerous team going into the playoffs. The Hawks are now one point behind Colorado Avalanche but the Avs have games in hand.

Next up for the Hawks, the final home game of the year at the United Center until the playoffs it will be a game with an original six foe the Montreal Canadiens.

Three Stars of the game

1.      Jeremy Morin

       2.    Marian Hossa

       3.    Patrick Sharp

Next game Wednesday, April 9, at 6:30 p.m. CDT  vs the Montreal Canadiens.  Tune in to CSN in  Chicago; or listen on radio via 87.7FM the Game.

Follow our Blackhawks team at @TCLBlackhawks; you can follow me at @sportshashhash