’Hawks get back on track

The Associated Press
Matt Carlson

CHICAGO—Following a pair of listless losses, the Chicago Blackhawks and Corey Crawford slammed the door defensively and returned to their winning ways.
Crawford stopped 25 shots for his league-leading seventh shutout, and rookie Artemi Panarin and Andrew Shaw both scored, as the Blackhawks blanked the St. Louis Blues 2-0 last night.
Crawford wasn’t consistently tested while earning his 19th career shutout.
The defending Stanley Cup champs rebounded from a 2-1 setback at Tampa Bay and a 4-0 drubbing at Florida that followed a franchise-record 12-game winning streak.
The Blues outshot Chicago 12-6 in the first period and missed on a handful of chances. But after that, the Blackhawks were stingy and in control.
“We started to get our legs and were making plays after that,” Crawford noted. “There wasn’t too many chances.
“After a couple losses, I thought it was important to get back on track.
“We stuck with it. We didn’t panic at all, showed good poise,” he added.
“Just kept playing our game.”
Before this season, Crawford had never had more than four shutouts in a year—in 2010-11.
“The ‘D’-men are working so hard in front of me, limiting second chances and keeping a lot of stuff to the outside,” Crawford said.
“I’m able to see pucks.
“It’s just a solid effort by a unit,” he stressed.
Coach Joel Quenneville saluted Crawford and his team’s defensive play for righting the Blackhawks from their short slide.
“He’s starting to develop some consistency with the defence in front of him,” Quenneville said.
“I thought we lost the momentum after the Tampa Bay game and getting it back on track tonight was important for us.”
Brian Elliott made 23 saves in his eighth-straight start for the Blues since taking over for Jake Allen, who suffered a lower-body injury at Anaheim back on Jan. 8.
Elliott is 5-2-2 since entering in the second period of that game against the Ducks.
The Blues lost their second-straight since ending a three-game winning streak and are 5-2-1 in their past eight.
They lost Friday night 2-1 in a shootout in Colorado and have scored just three times in their last three games—all on the road.
“We didn’t have any offensive energy,” Blues’ coach Ken Hitchcock noted.
“You look at this road trip, to come out of this thing with three points on scoring three goals, we’re pretty fortunate.
“Coming back [home], we’re going to have to have a lot more production than what we’re having right now,” he stressed.
Elsewhere in the NHL, Ottawa blanked the N.Y. Rangers 3-0, Carolina beat Calgary 5-2, and L.A. edged San Jose 3-2 (OT).
Pittsburgh at Washington was postponed.


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