After suffering an 0-8-1 streak through much of the new year, Hockey Day in America looked like a very grim prospect for the Chicago Blackhawks. Fortunately, victories over the Rangers and Blue Jackets have diminished the air of panic that seemed to be settling over the club, but the matchup against their unexpected Central Division rivals in St. Louis still provided a tall order for head coach Joel Quenneville. The Blackhawks survived the test, 3-1.
Playing in the second game of back-to-back starts, Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford was exceptional. Despite St. Louis outshooting the home squad by a 15-4 margin, Crawford was able to turn away every attempt until the final thirty seconds of the period, when Andy McDonald scored his third goal in the last three games. Muscling into the crease in pursuit of a loose puck after Crawford was unable to cover up, the veteran center poked it into the goal through the chaos to give St. Louis the 1-0 lead.
With the Blues clamping down through the second period, the home team finally broke through when Duncan Keith took a pass from Patrick Sharp in full flight and unleashed a powerful slapshot to knot things up.
Invigorated by the goal, the Hawks began to put pressure on St. Louis, forcing the Blues back into their zone until a long possession culminated in Dave Bolland firing a puck against into the crease before David Backes accidentally knocked it into his own net.
With Elliot on the bench for the final minutes of play, Marian Hossa deposited an empty-net goal to secure the game for Chicago, but an altercation between Alex Pietrangelo and John Scott escalated into a brawl in the final seconds of the game, including Blues' enforcer Ryan Reaves dropping the gloves with Scott, and both B.J. Crombeen and Jamal Mayers being awarded game misconduct penalties.