Blackhawks coach Brian Sutter wouldn't have flunked a lie-detector test Sunday after saying, "Five on five, we were a better hockey team."
But the outcome of the game at the United Center was determined by what the St. Louis Blues did in the first period during five-on-three power-play situations.
With Hawks watching from the penalty box, the Blues exploited their manpower advantage by striking for three unanswered goals in a span of 5 minutes 21 seconds, two in five-on-three situations. That was all they needed to secure a 3-1 victory and bolster their hopes of making the playoffs.
The Blues are seventh in the West, two points ahead of Nashville and three behind Calgary.
Starting when Jason Strudwick was sent off for holding at 5:04, the Blues were on the power play for an uninterrupted 7:26. During that time they had a two-man advantage for 4:21.
"Some were deserved, and some were marginal," Sutter said of the penalties charged to Strudwick, Mikhail Yakubov, Eric Nickulas, Steve Poapst and Jim Vandermeer. "The referees [were] a determining factor in the outcome of the hockey game. It doesn't take rocket science to figure out."
When the Hawks finally got back to even strength, the shots-on-goal ratio attested to the ordeal that goalie Adam Munro had gone through12 for the Blues and one for the Hawks.
"He was just fine," Sutter said of the 21-year-old rookie making his first start since Thursday night's 8-2 drubbing by Minnesota. "I think the first two [goals] hit his stick and changed directions. One was going up and hit his stick and went down, and one was going down and hit his stick and went up. And the third one was on a cross-crease pass.
"After that he made a couple of big saves, but he really didn't have a lot of work."
While Munro stopped five shots in each of the last two periods, St. Louis goaltender Chris Osgood had to make 30 of his 36 saves in the same span to stymie the Hawks' vigorous attack.
Osgood lost his shutout in the second minute of the second period when Shawn Thornton, the rookie winger recalled from Norfolk for the third time this season, scored his first NHL goal.
"Shawn came up and gave us a big boost," Sutter said. "He was good for us."
Thornton was recalled to fill the void created when center Scott Nichol was suspended Saturday for two games without pay for breaking the right index finger of Minnesota's Filip Kuba with a slash late in Thursday's rout. To make room for Thornton, rookie defenseman Michal Barinka was sent back to Norfolk.
Berard honored: Defenseman Bryan Berard has been nominated by the Chicago chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers Association for the Masterton Trophy, awarded annually to the NHL player whose career is epitomized by perseverance and dedication. Last season, when Berard played for Boston, he was runner-up to Detroit's Steve Yzerman.Copyright © 2015, CT Now