By Jim den Hollander
Two Midwest-based NHL teams met up on Wednesday (Nov. 16) possibly heading in opposite directions.
The St. Louis Blues continued its winning streak, capturing a 5-2 win against the host Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center in the Windy City.
After the game, the Hawks remain a point ahead of the Blues in the Central Division standings, but these are two teams headed in opposite directions.
The Blues endured a rough 3-8 start to the regular season including a six-game losing streak that tested the loyalty of the faithful fans in the Gateway City.
But the win in Chicago is the fourth straight for the Blues who still sit seventh in the eight-team Central Division but appear on its way to a scenic trip north through the standings.
Meanwhile, the bar seemed to be set low for the Hawks following a slew of off-season trades that took much of the firepower away from a team that was already among the bottom half of the league.
But the Hawks began the season strong, dropping its first two before winning four straight and sitting on the top half of the division for some time.
The loss on Wednesday though has the team at 2-5-3 in its last 10 games, a point up on the Blues and just two in front of the eighth-place Arizona Coyotes.
The Blues outshot the Hawks and scored the first two goals of the contest, carrying a 1-0 lead out of the opening 20 minutes and 4-2 into the final frame.
Captain Ryan O’Reilly notched the game winner near the halfway mark of the second period with others scored by Calle Rosen, Jordan Kyrou, Tyler Pitlick and Ivan Barbashev. Andreas Athanasiou fired both Hawks’ goals, his first goals of November ending a six-game scoreless string.
Jordan Binnington picked up the win as he did against Vegas Golden Knights, Colorado Avalanche and San Jose Sharks in a row. Binnington looked solid even when the team wasn’t winning, and he comes out of the contest with a 2.85 Goals Against Average and a .905 Save Percentage.
The string will likely end there as the Blues will be back in action tomorrow night on home ice against the Washington Capitals. Tomorrow’s game will be the first of three on home ice, the other two against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Hawks are off until a Saturday dash to Boston for an Original Six battle followed by a quick trip home to face the Dallas Stars on Sunday.