ST. LOUIS—What's all this talk about needing to open up the game?
For the last two nights, the Blackhawks took a trip back in time, when the ice was open and inviting, goalies were average at best and goalsgood and badwere plentiful.
The Hawks quickly got down 3-0 after 12 minutes Monday night against St. Louis, rallied to take a 4-3 lead and then watched the Blues race to a 7-4 victory.
"It was a game in which every chance going to the net, the puck seemed like it was going in," Hawks coach Brian Sutter said. "That might be exciting for fans to watch, but [if] you score four goals, that should be enough to win."
The Hawks may have suffered another major injury with 3 minutes 4 seconds left when Steve Sullivan hurt his right knee after banging it off the back of Stephane Robidas' leg as Robidas checked Eric Boguniecki into the boards.
Sullivan was trying to move around Robidas when the defenseman's leg extended and Sullivan's knee smashed into it. Sullivan was on the ice holding the knee for several minutes before being helped off.
"I really didn't see what happened, but it seemed like his knee," Hawks captain Alex Zhamnov said.
St. Louis jumped on top with three fast goals, two on rebounds when the Hawks' defensive coverage dissolved.
Christian Backman and Pavol Demitra picked up loose pucks in the crease and flipped them over Michael Leighton with nary a Hawk offering resistance.
"We have to be more sound in our own zone," defenseman Bryan Berard said. "Now we're scoring, but we're giving up goals on missed assignments."
Leighton, who had to battle marksmen in Sunday night's loss to Colorado and made his fourth straight start, was given the rest of the night off after being caught sprawling in his crease by Scott Mellanby for a goal six minutes into the second period that tied the score 4-4.
By then, the Hawks had chased Blues starter Chris Osgood with four straight goals to take the lead.
One of those goals was nice, as Zhamnov blasted a rocket from the faceoff dot. One was suspect, as Mark Bell's long shot sneaked through Osgood's legs. One by Berard was counted only after being reviewed. And one was utterly goofy, as Kyle Calder's rebound of a shot bounced back from the end boards, over the net and into the crease.
Chris Pronger scored the eventual winner off Steve Passmore midway through the second period, and the Blues added two more in the third.
The Hawks now travel to Detroit, where they will face the highest-scoring team in the league Wednesday night, likely without Sullivan.
"We scored four goals in Minnesota, scored three goals [against Calgary], scored four [Sunday]," Sutter said. "What have we said all along? We have to be good away from the puck."