Blackhawks playing similar to last year’s Blues

Blackhawks playing similar to last year’s Blues

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Blackhawks playing similar to last year’s Blues

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by Scott Bierman / HockeyStL

KMOV.com

Posted on March 6, 2013 at 11:34 PM

Updated Friday, Nov 1 at 6:46 AM

(HockeyStL) -- For the 24th consecutive game this season, an opposing team tried to end the Blackhawks’ point streak and failed. Welcome to the club, Colorado.

The 3-2 win over the Avalanche might have been the most impressive win of the year for Chicago. Shortly before the puck drop, Marian Hossa, the team’s third top scorer, was scratched with an upper-body injury, and Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw went down with injuries during the game.

That didn’t faze the Blackhawks, who trailed 2-1 entering the third period. Two third period goals from Chicago stretched the win streak to a franchise-record eleven games. The Avalanche became the Blackhawks’ 14th different victim this season.

The Avalanche played well, but the one thing the Blackhawks have more than any other team in the league is composure. Chicago has posted a 6-0-2 record when tied or trailing after the second period.

It’s an aspect of the game that the Blues could learn from, especially after blowing a three-goal lead against the Kings on Tuesday.

Aside from being faster and more skilled, there are similarities between the Blackhawks and the Blues from last year.

The biggest component to Chicago’s success has been the defense. This season, the Blackhawks have allowed a league-low 46 goals. Similarly, the Blues led the league in 2011-12 with the fewest goals allowed and finished second in the Western Conference.

Defense is the key for victory. The lack of it is why the Blues have fallen out of the top-eight in the conference. This season, the Blues have allowed the third-most goals (67) in the Western Conference and, as a result, sit in ninth place with an 11-9-2 record.

The special teams is another similarity between Chicago this season and St. Louis in 2011-12.

The Blues were not a major threat on the power play last season while converting 16.7% (19th in the NHL) of the time. Likewise, the Blackhawks entered Wednesday with the 14th-best power play converting 17.2% of its power play attempts.

Where both teams found success was on the other side of the special teams: the penalty kill. The Blues finished 7th in the league killing 85.8% of the penalties against last year while the Blackhawks have killed the third-most (88.8%) penalties prior to Wednesday.

What’s the similarity? Check the standings.

Another similarity has been the goaltending. The Blues obtained 109 points last season mainly because of the two goaltenders, Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliott. This season, the tandem has been anything but solid -- no need to research that one.

The Blackhawks have found success this season with Corey Crawford and backup Ray Emery. Crawford has posted an 11-0-3 record with a 1.53 goals against average and .940 save percentage. Emery is a perfect 10-0-0 with a 2.02 goals against average and .925 save percentage.

It’s just another aspect the Blues excelled in last season and the Blackhawks this season.

For St. Louis fans, the frustrating part of the point streak is that the Blues played this way last season (just not with the exact results). Now they have to watch a Blues team struggle in every facet of the game that it excelled in one year ago.

The Blues won’t finesse its way like the Blackhawks, but a quick glimpse at the film might make this team realize that it’s the game plan they had last season.

The 2011-12 Blues were just as methodical as this year’s Blackhawks.
 

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