ST. LOUIS – Corey Crawford came away with the shutout in this one, not Brian Elliott.
Chicago’s goalie stopped 30 shots and Bryan Bickell and Marian Hossa scored to lead the Blackhawks to a 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, ending Elliot’s bid for a fourth straight shutout.
“I felt good today, but I think the main thing is everyone is playing well,” Crawford said after his third shutout of the season. “We need everyone to play well every night and so far this year it’s been pretty much that for every game.”
Elliott, meanwhile, has shut out the Red Wings, Predators and Wild in succession on the road for a franchise record scoreless run of 189 minutes and 23 seconds. The road mark continues, but his overall shutout string ended at 214 minutes in the second period.
The Blackhawks lead the NHL with 68 points, and have won five in a row. They’re 3-1 against the Blues, all with Crawford in net, with two shutouts.
“They check well and they play that tight game and don’t give up much space and time, and you’ve got to make sure when you get a chance, to get ahead of them,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “It’s a different game when you’re chasing that team.”
The Blues rarely tested Crawford until the third period and lost their second straight in front of a standing room crowd of 19,385 that had a healthy contingent of Blackhawks fans. St. Louis has seven games remaining, all but one at home.
The Blues were sixth in the tightly bunched Western Conference with 48 points. Three teams were tied for the eighth just three points back.
“I don’t think we can dwell on any of the past games,” Blues captain David Backes said. “One of the things about the condensed schedule is if you start to dwell on your past or how good you’ve been, how bad you’ve been, quickly it can bite you.”
Bickell tapped in his own rebound on a rush early in the second period to end Elliott’s streak. Hossa’s short-handed goal off a faceoff win by Jonathan Toews came early in the third, 17 seconds after Duncan Keith was whistled for cross-checking Backes in front of the Chicago net.
Coach Ken Hitchcock said the Blues needed more hard-nosed play and less fancy play.
“The first goal is a perfect example,” Hitchcock said. “We’re in a position to shoot the puck, we stickhandle it, try to put it through someone’s leg, and five seconds later it’s in our net.
“Not the way you’re going to win against good teams.”
The Blues were 0 for 3 on the power play and have scored on just six of their last 72 power plays.
Elliot’s run has been an impressive return to form for a player who was benched early in the season and then sent on a two-week conditioning stint in the minors. He set franchise records with nine shutouts and had a shutout streak of 241 minutes and 33 seconds last season.
“He had some spectacular saves and a stretch that was pretty phenomenal,” Backes said. “The fact of the matter is we can’t live on a goose egg from the other team every night.”
This season’s streak ended on a rush that began when rookie Vladimir Tarasenko was dumped making a move in the Chicago zone. Bickell tapped a backhander off the post and then tucked in the rebound at 4:39 of the second for his third goal in five games and ninth overall.
“It bounced side to side and went right on the guy’s tape,” Elliott said. “I’m not concerned about the streak, it’s getting the win.”
Hossa scored his 15th of the season at 6:34 of the third on a one-timer that beat Elliott on the glove side with a shot the goalie said deflected off a shin guard in front. He said Toews made the play.
“Johnny told me where to stand basically and he’s so good on faceoffs, so when he won it cleanly and I tried to open up and hit a slap shot,” Hossa said. “Obviously, I didn’t hit it exactly where I wanted to, but there was a good bounce.”
The Blackhawks are 22-2-0 when scoring first and 23-1-2 when leading after two periods.
NOTES: The Blues wore white road jerseys and are autographing and auctioning them on stlblues.com to benefit their charitable trust, the 14 fund. … F Patrick Sharp (upper body) was among the Blackhawks scratches. … Hossa has 18 goals and 31 points in 37 career games against the Blues. … The last goalie to post four straight shutouts was Brian Boucher of Phoenix Dec. 31, 2003-Jan. 9, 2004. … Toews has three goals and three assists against the Blues this season.