Morin sparks Blackhawks to victory
For a while, it was one of the most exciting plays in the Blackhawks' 4-2 win in a Sunday matinee against the Blues at the United Center -- a victory that temporarily moved the Hawks within 1 point of Colorado in the battle for home-ice advantage in the playoffs.
There was Jeremy Morin trying to ignite a spark after the Hawks had fallen behind just two minutes into the game against their despised division rivals.
Not too long after, the rookie attempted to check Patrick Berglund near the Hawks' bench, but Berglund's deft sidestep sidetracked Morin's plans and instead sent him riding the boards -- half in and half out -- like a skateboarder on a railing before coming to a stop at the glass and in front of Duncan Keith.
"It can be kind of tricky there when the benches are so low and you've got all the momentum," Keith said. "I've seen that happen a few times around the league where guys go head over heels. I was trying to keep him from doing a handstand."
Fortunately it never reached that point for Morin.
"I kind of missed (Berglund)," Morin said with a smile. "I'm glad I didn't hit him because my elbow came up there.
"I didn't realize I had that much momentum going into the bench. I was kind of excited to get going. But I don't want to do that again ... because it hurt."
Maybe that wasn't the exact spark Morin was looking for, but it wasn't too much later that he absolutely ignited the Hawks and the sold-out house by crashing the net to tie the game midway through the second. It was just a part of another big night for the Morin-Peter Regin-Bryan Bickell line.
"He's at the net and things are happening," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of the rookie Morin. "He was dangerous off the rush and got rewarded going to the net."
Morin struck again in the last minute of the period when he sent a perfect pass to Patrick Sharp, who blasted home his 33rd of the season and gave the Hawks a lead they would never relinquish.
"He made a great play over to Sharpie," Quenneville said. "I think Mo's got a little more confidence with the puck. He's one of those guys up the wing. He's got a big shot. He's simple, direct, straight ahead.
"I think you get a little more comfortable with the puck and the way we have to play and I think it's starting to show that he's got a little more of a purpose behind his play."
Morin extended his point streak to three games and put together his first career multi-point game.
"He's always had that skill, he's always had that hard shot," Keith said. "I think his skating has improved. He's playing great."
Corey Crawford was stellar in net, turning away 21 of 23 shots, and Marcus Kruger and Ben Smith (empty-netter) added late goals to give the Hawks their third straight victory.
"Three games in a row I thought we played the same, exact way," Quenneville said. "We played the right way, worked hard, very effective, efficient, everybody contributed and we scored some ugly goals. But we played the right way to get rewarded."
And now only three regular-season games remain -- three very big games.
"If we get a chance to play at the UC (first) or away from it, we'd choose to play here," Sharp said. "These next three games are important and we want to continue to win."