• Quick strike
After allowing the Blues to score the opening goals in Games 1 and 2, the Blackhawks jumped out to an early lead in Game 3. Jonathan Toews threw the puck at the net and surprised Blues goaltender Ryan Miller, who did not react quickly enough to make what should have been an easy save.
• Mind over body
Niklas Hjalmarsson has been a terrific shot blocker throughout his career with the Hawks, but his efforts in this series deserve special recognition. Hjalmarsson placed his body in front of several hard shots, gaining bruises along with the respect of Hawks fans and teammates.
• Fearsome foursome
The Hawks’ penalty-killing unit stymied the Blues, preventing scoring opportunities and bailing out teammates for foolish penalties. Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Marcus Kruger each earned two-minute stints in the penalty box, but Toews, Marian Hossa and Michal Handzus each helped to clear the zone.
What didn’t work
• Out of the crease
Corey Crawford works hard on playing the puck during practice, but Monday was not his finest moment as a stickhandler. On a dangerous play in the first period, Crawford miscommunicated with defenseman Duncan Keith and allowed the puck to squirt loose in front of the net. Fortunately, no Blues players were near.
• Power outage
The Hawks continued to struggle badly on the man advantage, wasting more than seven minutes of power-play time in Game 3. During the second period, the Hawks had a 5-on-3 advantage for 37 seconds but still could not manage to score. In three playoff games, the Hawks are 1 for 14 on the power play.
• Clean passes
Without clean passes, it’s tough to move the puck into the offensive zone. Without moving the puck into the offensive zone, it’s tough to score. The biggest reason for the Hawks’ long quiet spell on offense was because they could not move through the neutral zone against the Blues, who seemingly got in the way of every pass.
Stars of the game
• Corey Crawford
Crawford said he needed to play better heading into Game 3, and he delivered in a big way. He stopped all 34 shots he faced, including several stellar glove saves in the second and third period.
• Jonathan Toews
Toews was dominant in the faceoff circle, pesky on the forecheck and scored the Hawks’ first goal of the game. What more can be said about the Hawks’ captain?
• Marian Hossa
Although Hossa’s terrific effort won’t show up in the box score, he was the Hawks’ toughest player in Game 3. No matter how hard the Blues tried, they could not knock Hossa off of the puck.
Who’s got a defibrillator I can use?
@2ndCityHockey, Second City Hockey