I think staged fighting is hockey’s biggest joke and I’m glad it’s on its way out. But give me a goalie hulking out, in full pads, and I lose my mind like a kid who just found out it’s a snow day, or the people from this perfect tweet. So my personal highlight of last night’s very busy 4-3 Blues win in Chicago was easily Corey Crawford getting fed up after being crashed by Robby Fabbri, and deciding to take matters into his own hands.
The scrum resulted in three penalties to St. Louis (the goalie interference call on Fabbri was not a fair one) and two to the Blackhawks, and Chicago scored on the ensuing power play to take the lead. But it wasn’t to last: third-period goals from Jaden Schwartz and Alex Steen gave the Blues the game and a 3-1 series lead, and holy shit are the Blues actually going to finally get over the hump and do it by ousting the defending champs?
There’s no mystery to what’s happening, and it’s no fluke: the Blues have been the better team for all four games of this series, and were a few inches of an offside call in Game 2 away from sweeping this thing. They’re getting those big, important goals that they haven’t gotten in playoffs past, and Brian Elliott is following up a wonderful regular season with an even better postseason, for once. The traditionally deep Blackhawks aren’t getting balanced scoring, be it due to the fatigue of so many deep runs, or the front office finally being unable to outsmart the cap, or just that St. Louis has, finally, constructed the superior roster.
We’ve all seen the Blackhawks get out of trickier scrapes than this, and we’re all aware of the entire existence of the Blues franchise, so I’m not about to declare Chicago done just yet. But damned if they don’t look cooked. It’s a lesson their opponents have learned the hard way many times in recent seasons: sometimes you just run into a better team.