Monday, January 2, 2017

NHL Winter Classic recap

       On January 2nd, 2017, the St. Louis Blues and the Chicago Blackhawks went outdoors to Busch stadium, the home of the MLB's St. Louis Cardinals for the annual NHL Winter Classic. Before the game, the Golden Jet (Bobby Hull) and the Golden Brett (Brett Hull) dropped the ceremonial first puck drop.
         Both teams went with their starting goalies, with Corey Crawford protecting the crease for Chicago, and Jake Allen tending the net for the Blues. 1:02 into the game, defenseman Michal Kempny, who had scored his first NHL goal the night before, beat Allen for his 2nd career goal (and of the season). RW Artemi Panarin recorded his 24th assist, and Duncan Keith got assist no. 25. That held to be the only goal of the period.
           At 7:45 of the second period, St. Louis defenseman Jay Bouwmeester skated with the puck behind the net, then passed it in front to RW Patrik Berglund, who beat Crawford for his 6th goal of the season. Bouwmeester got his 7th "A" of the season and LW Alex Steen got no. 12 on the season, career assist no. 300 and point 500.
             Going into the 3rd period, tied at 1, both teams tried very hard to break the tie. coming in on a 3 on 2, Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko intended to pass the puck to his left, but the puck hit off the skate of CHI defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and passed Crawford for the goal, Tarasenko's 17th of the season. LW Robby Fabbri gets his 13th assist of the year. Just 1:52 later, Tarasenko's shot off the rush beat Crawford, for his 2nd of the period and 18th of the season. Fabbri got is 14th assist and C Jori Lehtera recorded helper no.7, making it a 3-1 game. Later in the game, Chicago pulled Crawford, going with 6 skaters. St. Louis couldn't find a way to score, yet being so close to. Defenseman Brent Seabrook kept blocking them from scoring, keeping it a 3-1 game. Finally, Steen scored an empty netter, an unassisted goal, his 4th of the season. The game ended that way, 4-1 Blues.
                Shots were 35-23 in favor of the Blues. We'll see if next year's winter classic can also be intense, next New Year's day.

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