Chicago Blackhawks get first win for Colliton
When the Chicago Blackhawks snapped an eight-game losing streak with a tense 1-0 victory over St. Louis on Wednesday night at the United Center, head coach Jeremy Colliton didn't jump for joy, pump his fist or even smile.
Instead, the 33-year-old simply shook hands with his two assistants, did an about face and walked down the tunnel.
That's Colliton in a nutshell -- calm, cool and collected. Even after recording his first coaching victory in the NHL.
Afterward, players presented him with a game puck to celebrate the accomplishment.
"I'm just here to help them," he said. "So it's kind of awkward, actually. But I do appreciate the gesture. Hopefully we can get some momentum going and build on it."
The big names did the heavy lifting in this one, with Corey Crawford making 28 saves, Brent Seabrook scoring the lone goal, and Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane notching assists. But plenty of role players like Andreas Martinsen (7 hits, 2 blocks), Luke Johnson (4 hits) and John Hayden (3 hits) stepped up and helped limit St. Louis to very few Grade-A chances.
"They're all doing things that everyone else is responding to," Toews said.
Had the Hawks lost they would have matched their longest skid since going 0-8-1 from Jan. 21-Feb. 14 during 2011-12 season. The last time they lost 10 straight was during the 2006-07 season.
"This group needed some good things to happen," Colliton said. "They needed some reinforcement that the sun's coming up (tomorrow)."
Seabrook scored a power-play goal 4:05 into the second period when his shot deflected off Jay Bouwmeester's skate and slid past Blues goalie Jake Allen. It was Seabrook's 50th goal since the start of the 2013 season, with 22 of them coming on the power play.
Crawford's most impressive save came on a Vladimir Tarasenko one-timer with 8:09 remaining in the first period. He also turned away tough shots from Tyler Bozak and Robert Thomas early in the second.
This was the first time the Hawks (7-8-4) shut out an opponent since Nov. 4, 2017.
"Everybody stuck with the game plan," Seabrook said. "Everybody worked hard. It was a real team effort (and) obviously we've got one of the best goalies in the world helping us out back there."
Now the key is for the Hawks to build on this momentum Friday when they face the woeful 5-11-1 Los Angeles Kings at the United Center.
"It's not fun to start out the first 20 games and get behind the way we have," Toews said. "But a lot of teams go through this. It's a long year and we know it's going to be tight in the standings all the way to the end of the regular season.
"I think we've gotten over the hump."
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