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updated: 3/30/2012 5:24 AM

Blackhawks persevere, and it finally pays off

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  • The Blackhawks' Dave Bolland (36) greets teammates Thursday night after his shootout goal defeated the Blues at the United Center.

      The Blackhawks' Dave Bolland (36) greets teammates Thursday night after his shootout goal defeated the Blues at the United Center.
    Associated Press

 
 

Patrick Kane could not believe it.

On a dominating shift in the final minutes of the second period, No. 88 had beaten St. Louis goalie Jaroslav Halak with a near-perfect shot over Halak's right shoulder … only to see it clank off the post.

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And then, seconds later, Kane blasted one from point-blank range only to be denied again by Halak, who made a smothering stop.

If Kane was wondering what a guy had to do to get one past Halak, he wasn't alone. He could've asked Patrick Sharp, or Viktor Stalberg or a handful of other Blackhawks who were stonewalled as well.

Not that they weren't prepared for what it was going to take against the Blues.

"I saw a stat today that they've given up 15 goals in their past 12 games, and I think the one game against them we had 3 or 4 on them when we beat them last time," Kane said following Thursday's morning skate.

"It shows how good they're playing defensively. They've been like that all year."

They were like that again Thursday in another thriller in this series, this time with the Hawks coming out on top with a 4-3 shootout victory.

It wasn't easy getting there, though, because through two periods St. Louis totaled 11 shots on goal while the Hawks peppered Halak with 24. He turned away 23 of them as they headed to the third tied at 1-1.

But eventually the Hawks' pressure paid off as Andrew Brunette got one past Halak after Marian Hossa and Kane had tried. Less than five minutes later, Sharp lasered one past Halak to give the Hawks a 3-1 lead.

"It felt good at the time," Sharp said. "It was a big one."

It didn't last, though, as the Blues scored twice over the final 11 minutes to take the air out of everyone, albeit temporarily.

"Maybe we should've pulled that one out in regulation," Hawks goalie Corey Crawford said. "But after the second and third (goals) we didn't collapse. We kept working hard."

And a sweet move Dave Bolland in the shootout capped the victory.

"You always have things going through your head, and you're not really sure what to put in," Bolland said. "Should I shoot? Or should I deke? Or should I just bury my head and put it through him, try to run right through him?"

It was the second straight 4-3 shootout decision over the Blues, ending an intense season series that may not be over just yet.

"They're a great team. They work hard. They do the right things," Bolland said. "I know it's always a big game against St. Louis. We have a great rivalry with them."

mspellman@dailyherald.com

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