By Jay Zawaski-
(CBS) On Wednesday night, the Blackhawks dashed any fears of a post-circus trip hangover with a convincing 4-1 win over the St. Louis Blues. The game began as most Blues games do. Steve Ott and Ryan Reaves were skating around trying to hit and hurt everyone in sight. The Hawks took the Blues’ bait early, as Daniel Carcillo took a retaliatory penalty, but as soon as Marcus Kruger put the Hawks on the board, Chicago took over and controlled nearly every element of the game.
Now to the shorties…
Risky Raanta – Antti Raanta stopped 40 of the Blues’ 41 shots, but goodness, is he an adventure. He loses his crease seemingly every time there’s a scramble in front. Other times, he just plain leaves his net. Perhaps he’s bored. Who could blame him? Prior to Wednesday, he hadn’t played since Oct. 25. For perspective, the World Series was being played on Oct. 25. Bottom line, though: Raanta made the saves he had to make, pretty or not.
Crow says “No” at a metal show – Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford will be out the next two or three weeks with a lower-body injury he suffered at a Rise Against concert at the House of Blues when he missed a step. It sucks. It’s embarrassing. But can you really be mad at him? He’s certainly allowed to take in a show, have a few drinks and have a good time. It sucks that this freak accident happened, but if the Hawks offense can maintain anything close to its current level of production, Raanta and Scott Darling should do an adequate job of holding down the fort until Crawford returns.
PB&K – Patrick (Kane), Brad (Richards) and Kris (Versteeg). The Hawks’ second line is on an absolute tear. They had six more combined points Wednesday night, including a pair of goals for Kane. Versteeg added a goal and two assists of his own. This might be the best line in hockey right now. It’s amazing what a real second-line center and consistent line-mates can do for a player like Kane.
Hossa struggling – Marian Hossa is snakebit right now, with just one goal since Nov. 1. Despite that, he was one of the Hawks’ unsung heroes Wednesday night. He was dominant and strong at both ends of the ice and had several quality scoring chances. The goals will come — eventually. Even if they don’t, he’s still one of the best defensive forwards in the game.
Thanks for reading. Look for another entry after Friday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Also, this Sunday, join Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger and me at Trophy Room Chicago (170 W. Ontario). We’ll be there for a Bud Light “On the Glass” appearance. The event begins at 7 p.m and features a live Q&A with Kruger, followed by an autograph session. You can also register to win a pair of Blackhawks tickets, courtesy of Bud Light. Hope to see you all there.
Jay Zawaski is the executive producer of the Spiegel and Mannelly Show on 670 The Score and the Blackhawks columnist for CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JayZawaski670.