- Jesse Rogers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- Just when you thought the Jonathan Toews-less Chicago Blackhawks didn’t have enough fight to beat the best team in the league, they come up with a performance like Tuesday's thrilling shootout win over St. Louis.
Trailing 3-1 meant little to the Hawks as they dominated the game from the second period to the finish.
“That was a fun game,” Patrick Kane said afterwards. “A really fun game. … To put up 40-plus shots on a team like that, that is so defensive, says something about our team. What we can do when we play to our potential.”
Kane scored the game-winner in the shootout, but it was what happened in the 65 minutes before that, that stood out most. The Hawks had 46 shots on goal -- a season high against the Blues.
“When you mismanage the puck in this building, they come at you in waves, and that’s what happened,”
St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. “It’s all discipline and hard work.”
Charging ahead 3-1 as easily as the Blues did worked against them, Hitchcock said. But only because the Hawks came to work even after falling behind.
“Looking at the game overall, we were pretty much dominating from start to finish,” Viktor Stalberg said. “They made some unbelievable plays. I’m not going to take that away from them. Not too many times are they going to make those tic-tac-toe plays to an open net.”
So the Blues took the lead, but the Hawks showed fight. They did so literally -- when Brandon Bollig jumped Ryan Reaves late in the first period for a tussle that seemed to energize the home team and home crowd-- before figuratively following suit.
“The end of the first got everyone into the game there,” Kane said. “It’s nice to see the response. Mayers took a big hit, Bollig jumps right in, bunch of guys jump in. It’s good to know we can play a physical game like that especially with the skill and talent we have in here.”
It’s not something many people say about the Hawks. In fact, just a week earlier in St. Louis the Hawks had showed no push-back in a 5-1 loss.
“It was a huge win, I loved how we played,” Joel Quenneville said. “I thought we competed, we battled, which you have to do against that team.”
Quenneville acknowledged it wasn’t his team’s response last week against the same opponent. But that was then. This was now.
The Hawks proved something. They aren’t going to just lie down. Besides the season-high 46 shots against, the Hawks also broke St. Louis’ streak of killing 51 straight penalties. Brent Seabrook’s third period goal with the man advantage tied the game and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
“Nice to see the power-play, against an amazing streak that they’re on, killing [attempts], obviously huge, traffic, shot, [goal],” Quenneville said.
The Hawks matched the Blues in physicality and outplayed them on offense. They broke an amazing penalty -killing streak while putting up 46 shots on net. Who’s the best team in the league again?
“That we can play in that type of game and come back and get a win is good to know about our team,” Kane said.
Remember that come playoff time.