By Nick Jacquin, Sports Writer
It was a big day for sports fans of all kinds on Sunday. While four NFL teams battled for the chance to play in Super Bowl 50, the heated rivalry between two division foes was taking place in the NHL.
The St. Louis Blues traveled to the United Center in Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. St. Louis (28-16-8) was unable to put anything past Chicago goalie, Corey Crawford, who captured his NHL leading seventh shutout of the season. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks (33-15-4) were able to get back into the winning column after losing their previous two games.
St. Louis was able to control the game for much of the first period putting 12 of their 25 total shots on net. However, Crawford was able to deny multiple scoring chances by Blues forwards Scottie Upshall and Vladimir Tarasenko to keep the game scoreless after one.
Chicago however, was able to quickly gain momentum in the second period, outshooting the Blues 11-6. The Blackhawks were also able to open the scoring late in the second period when Chicago rookie Artemi Panarin received a nice backhand pass from Patrick Kane and sent it past Blues goalie Brian Elliott. Panarin increased his goal total on the season to 17 and he continues to lead NHL rookies in that category. Meanwhile, Kane continued his remarkable season with assist number 43 and point number 73.
The score remained 1-0 until about 5 minutes into the third period when forward Andrew Shaw tipped a Marian Hossa one-timer into the top right corner. The goal gave the Hawks the 2-0 lead and they didn’t look back. It was Shaw’s ninth goal of the season and Hossa’s seventeenth assist.
St. Louis was unable to overcome the two-goal deficit and the Blackhawks were able to send their 22,938 fans in attendance home happy with a big win vs. their division rivals. St. Louis fell to 1-2 on the season vs. Chicago with the loss on Sunday night.
Overall, the game was pretty quiet from a penalties standpoint as each team recorded just one, both occurring in the third period. St. Louis forward, Dmitrij Jaskin, was called for tripping just over four minutes into the final period and Panarin was sent to the penalty box just eight minutes later on an interference call against Blues rookie defenseman, Colton Parayko.
Both teams were able to record 25 shots on goal in the matchup. Chicago will look to carry the momentum into Tuesday night when they battle the Hurricanes in Carolina. It will be Chicago’s final game before the NHL All-Star Game, which takes place on Sunday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. St. Louis will be off until after the All-Star Break when they will travel to Nashville on Feb. 2nd to take on yet another divisional rival, the Predators, who are 22-18-8 on the season.