Chicago Blackhawks survive without their best effort - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

Blackhawks survive without their best effort

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There haven't been many times during the 21 game streak the Chicago Blackhawks didn't play a full game. On Friday night the Hawks had a streaky effort but they hung in and found a way to succeed. Give the Columbus Blue Jackets credit as they played a big game and were shorthanded due to some key injuries. In the end their best wasn't good enough as the Hawks pulled out a 4-3 overtime victory.

The trap game theorist were almost correct as Columbus could have ended the Hawks streak. After facing a division rival on the road and winning convincingly, having to get up for the Blue Jackets the next night was a challenge. Combined with the hated Detroit Red Wings coming up on Sunday was enough to test the focus of any club. The Blackhawks were up to the challenge and found a way to win another close game.

As has been the case this season there were contributions up and down the lineup. In St. Louis it was third line center Andrew Shaw coming through with a goal. Versus Columbus his linemates Viktor Stalberg and Bryan Bickell each dented the net. The game winner came on a great individual effort by Jonathan Toews. He sent a gorgeous pass to Brent Seabrook who buried his shot into a wide open net for the overtime victory.

Ray Emery played well except for allowing a goal in the opening minute that wouldn't have happened if the initial shot was cleanly handled. Emery's counterpart Steve Mason, obliged by allowing a soft goal on a weak Patrick Sharp backhander, so both sides had the same issue.

Corey Crawford was on the bench backing up Emery after being pulled following the opening period in St. Louis. Unfortunately there is so much secrecy surrounding injuries that no one has been able to get a straight story as to why Crawford appeared wobbly. Crawford was able to practice on Friday morning so one could assume it was not a concussion issue, but it isn't possible to be certain.

Throughout sports, and especially in the NHL, the message is controlled by teams as to the specifics concerning an injury. If Crawford was simply dehydrated and felt light-headed it would seem that should be shared with the media and Blackhawk fans. Unfortunately information is held back and fans are left in the dark.

In the Central Division the Hawks have a 15 point cushion over second place St. Louis. Sunday's opponent, the Red Wings, trail the Blues in the standings by one point. Detroit has been idle since Thursday when they defeated San Jose 2-1 in a shootout.

If the Hawks can pick up at least one point in Detroit, the congested schedule turns more favorable. After Sunday the Hawks face the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday and the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday at the United Center. The game against Minnesota will mark the 201st consecutive sellout at the UC.

We all know the Blackhawks will lose in regulation at some point, the question is when. If the streak stays intact on Sunday there is no telling when the end will come.

I will be back on Monday to discuss the game in Detroit. Follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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