Chicago Blackhawks shutout St. Louis 4-0, lose Kane to injury - KMSP-TV

Hawks shutout St. Louis 4-0, lose Kane to injury

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

According to the standings St. Louis is the best team in the league. On Wednesday night the Chicago Blackhawks could make that claim as they shutout the Blues in convincing fashion 4-0.

This game meant much more to the Hawks than the Blues and they played like it. Sixty-minute efforts haven't happened very often and Wednesday night might have been the best game of the season for Chicago. Except for the opening minutes the Blues appeared overmatched as the Blackhawks did everything at a high level.

In post game comments, St.Louis head coach Ken Hitchcock may have said it best in reference to the Blackhawks saying, "They competed hard on every puck right from start to finish."

What was needed was a big effort from every player from shift to shift and that is exactly what Joel Quenneville received. The Blackhawks structure in every zone was sound and they won the individual battles. The Hawks kept the game at a quick pace with solid passing and also skated hard to the net.

The results showed as point shots from Duncan Keith and Nick Leddy led to goals because of traffic in front of Ryan Miller. Keith notched his fifth goal of the season and Andrew Shaw tipped in a Leddy blast to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead toward the end of the middle frame.

In the final period Marcus Kruger scored by driving to the net. Ben Smith was also near the blue paint to notch the second power play goal and to close out the scoring. Smith continues to work hard and has been a very effective player.

The two big men for the Hawks played an important role in the victory. Both, Brandon Bollig and Bryan Bickell played one of their best games of the season.

Bollig was used for some shifts in the opening period as a left wing on the first line. Bollig provided some protection and physicality as he was credited with six hits, five of which came in the first frame.

Bryan Bickell helped set a physical tone as well, he had two hits and recorded three shots on goal. Bickell was involved the previous game in Philadelphia and the same can be said for Wednesday night. Bickell resembled the player who came up big repeatedly during last year's Stanley Cup run.

St. Louis chased the Hawks and were only able to fire 21 shots at Corey Crawford who pitched his second shutout.

The Blues rank near the top of the NHL in special teams. Wednesday night it was the Hawks who converted on two of three power play attempts and killed off three St.Louis power plays.

The Blackhawks will have a tough road to overtake the Blues in the Central Division. With the win the Hawks trail St. Louis by six points but have played one more game. The Hawks will face the Blues for the final time in the regular season at the United Center on April 5.

It would have been a perfect night for Blackhawk faithful except for an injury to Patrick Kane.

Unfortunately for the Hawks, Kane was injured on a freak play in the second period. Sheldon Brookbank collided with the Blues Brenden Morrow. As Morrow fell to the ice he came in contact with Kane's left leg.

Immediately Kane was in pain and went down to the ice. He got up on his own power but struggled to the bench. He then quickly headed for the dressing room and did not return.

After the game Quenneville commented Kane could miss about three weeks. It looked as if Kane's left knee was the cause of his pain and now the Hawk will have to manage without their best playmaker.

For a player to be placed on long term injured reserve he has to miss at least 10 games and 24 days. Three weeks is close to 24 days but it remains to be seen how long Kane will be out. If Kane misses 24 days he would be out for the rest of the regular season and could be placed on LTIR.

If so, it could mean the door would be open for Teuvo Teräväinen to be able to play for the Blackhawks in the regular season. If Kane goes on LTIR that will likely create the necessary salary cap space which would allow Teräväinen to play in Chicago.

It was reported Wednesday by TSN's Bob McKenzie that Teravainen has been cleared by his club Jokerit, to join the Blackhawks. McKenzie then mentioned the Hawks will decide in coming days if Teräväinen will go to the AHL (Rockford) or to the big club. The word going around is his arrival may be as early as this weekend.

The Blackhawks need to get on a roll and the next three games, all at the UC, will give them an opportunity to do so.

On Friday night the Hurricanes will be in town and then the Predators and Stars will pay a visit on Sunday and Tuesday respectively.

The question that needs to be answered is how often the Blackhawks can bring their "A" game. There was no doubt who the best team on the ice was Wednesday night.

Al's Shots

Quenneville notched his 700th win as a head coach Wednesday. That's an elite status as only Al Arbour and Scotty Bowman have more wins than Quenneville.

Brandon Saad missed the game due to an upper body injury and Michal Rozsival was also unable to dress. Although neither injury is thought to be serious their return date is not yet known.

I will be back on Saturday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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