ST. LOUIS — Much has been made of the Blackhawks' inability to defeat the top two teams in the Western Conference this season, the San Jose Sharks and Detroit Red Wings.
Their difficulty with the St. Louis Blues, who are anchored at the bottom of the conference after a spate of injuries, is a bit more puzzling. The Blues had defeated the Hawks in tight, physical contests in the previous two meetings between the clubs before Saturday night's game at the Scottrade Center.
The style of play didn't change Saturday, but the result did as the Hawks outlasted the Blues 2-1 in overtime before a crowd of 19,250. It was the third consecutive game between the teams that had gone to overtime or a shootout.
Martin Havlat scored the game-winner 1 minute 23 seconds into the extra period after goaltender Cristobal Huet kept the Hawks in the game with a stellar effort.
"Our goalie was the difference," said Havlat, who scored on a wraparound after picking up a rebound of a Brent Seabrook shot. "He made some key saves. They didn't give us that much, so we're happy with two points."
Huet outdueled the Blues' Manny Legace to help the Hawks snap a two-game road skid.
"Our power play got us a big goal, and after that I thought the [Blues] played a very good game," said Huet, who finished with 27 saves to improve to 12-7-2 on the season. "They skated hard and forechecked hard and we didn't have much. We tried to battle the whole game and found a way to win."
In front of the net, Troy Brouwer redirected Cam Barker's slap shot from inside the blue line midway through the first period to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. It was Brouwer's sixth goal of the season and came after the winger was a healthy scratch the previous three games.
"We dropped one [Friday night] we feel we should have won," Brouwer said of the Hawks' 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers. "It shows a lot about the character of this team to be able to come back the next night and pull off a win like that."
After Brouwer's goal, it was all Huet as the veteran came up big to stop several prime scoring chances. Huet finally yielded David Backes' power-play goal early in the third that ultimately sent the game to overtime.
"We were the better team [Saturday night]," Legace said. "We deserved to win that game. If it wasn't for Huet, it should have been about 6-1 or 7-1. He just played unbelievable."
Early in the second Huet made a terrific glove save with a dive to nab an Alexander Steen power-play attempt. The puck was moving toward an open net when Huet gloved it as it headed over the line. After a lengthy review, it was determined video replays couldn't overturn the referee's no-goal call.
"It was a very intense game," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was a goalie win. Huet was spectacular and made several miraculous saves."Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun