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NHL: Emery to Hawks' rescue

Published: Friday, March 1, 2013 12:06 a.m. CDT
Caption
(AP)
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford (50) and teammate Niklas Hjalmarsson try to smother a loose puck during Thursday's game in St. Louis. The Blackhawks won 3-0.

ST. LOUIS – A little adversity never hurt anyone. Especially the surging Blackhawks.

Though their starting goaltender wasn't around to see it, the Hawks continued their assault on the record books with a 3-0 victory over the Blues on Thursday night at the Scottrade Center.

Netminder Corey Crawford made it through the first period, but didn't come out for the second after suffering an unspecified injury.

The Hawks then rode backup Ray Emery to extend their streak without a loss in regulation to 20 games to start the season and 26 in a row overall dating back to the 2011-12 campaign.

Jonathan Toews scored two goals – including one 12 seconds into the first period – and Andrew Shaw also had a goal to provide the offense. Emery came on in relief to help the Hawks record their third shutout of the season.

After the game, Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said Crawford suffered an upper-body injury and is day-to-day.

The Hawks struck quickly in the opening period with Toews' finishing a pretty passing play. Duncan Keith's outlet pass found Marian Hossa, who then advanced it nicely to Brandon Saad near the left post in front of Blues goalie Jaroslav Halak. The rookie then sent a short pass through the crease to Toews and the captain tucked it in.

It was the Hawks' fastest goal to start a game since Dave Bolland did it 10 seconds in on March 16, 2012 against the Stars. The franchise record for fastest goal to start a game is Brent Sutter's 8 seconds at Vancouver on Feb. 5, 1995.

Crawford faced six shots in the first period and made his biggest save on a Jaden Schwartz blast after the center broke in on a two-on-one with Matt D'Agostini. After the period ended, Crawford slowly made his way off the ice and when the second started, Emery took over.

The Blues, playing without top forwards Andy McDonald (knee), Alexander Steen (shoulder) and Viktor Tarasenko (concussion) put pressure on Emery throughout the second, but the veteran was up to the task. His best save came on Chris Stewart's point-blank shot on a power play.

Early in the third, Shaw made it 2-0 after taking a nice feed from Bryan Bickell along the end boards and firing it past Halak to the stick side.

In the third, Toews put the game out of reach when he battled hard in front of the net and poked the puck past Halak during a scramble.

The Blues were the last team to hand the Hawks a regulation road defeat back on March 6, 2012. Since then, the Hawks are 13-0-4 away from home, including a 9-0-2 mark this season.

"The guys, their preparation and focus for the game we're playing that day is in the right place," Quenneville said before the game. "They deserve the credit for how they've approached it and how they've been consistent in the games."

Star of the game: Ray Emery, Blackhawks, did not allow a goal after replacing injured Corey Crawford

Up next: Blue Jackets at Blackhawks, 7:30 p.m. today

TV/Radio: CSN/720 AM

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