Crawford stopped 25 shots for his league-leading seventh shutout, rookie Artemi Panarin and Andrew Shaw scored and the Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 2-0 on Sunday night to end a two-game losing streak.
Crawford wasn’t consistently tested while earning his 19th career shutout. The defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks rebounded from a 2-1 setback at Tampa Bay and a 4-0 drubbing at Florida that followed a franchise-record 12-game winning streak.
The Blues outshot Chicago 12-6 in the first period and missed on a handful of chances, but after that, the Blackhawks were stingy and in control.
"We started to get our legs and were making plays after that," Crawford said. "There wasn’t too many chances. After a couple losses, I thought it was important to get back on track.
"We stuck with it. We didn’t panic at all, showed good poise. Just kept playing our game," he added.
Before this season, Crawford had never had more than four shutouts in a year — in 2010-11.
"The D-men are working so hard in front of me, limiting second chances and keeping a lot of stuff to the outside," Crawford said. "I’m able to see pucks. It’s just a solid effort by a unit."
Coach Joel Quenneville saluted Crawford and his team’s defensive play for righting the Blackhawks from their short slide.
"He’s starting to develop some consistency with the defence in front of him," Quenneville said. "I thought we lost the momentum after the Tampa Bay game and getting it back on track tonight was important for us."
St. Louis’s Brian Elliott made 23 saves in his eighth straight start since taking over for Jake Allen, who suffered a lower-body injury at Anaheim on Jan. 8. Elliott is 5-2-2 since entering in the second period of that game against the Ducks.
The Blues lost their second straight since ending a three-game winning streak and are 5-2-1 in their past eight. They lost Friday night 2-1 in a shootout in Colorado and have scored just three times in their last three games — all on the road — going 1-1-1 in the stretch.
"We didn’t have any offensive energy," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "You look at this road trip, to come out of this thing with three points on scoring three goals, we’re pretty fortunate.
"Coming back, we’re going to have to have a lot more production than what we’re having right now."
Panarin got Chicago on the board with 4:34 left in the period when he leaned into a one-timer from the right circle and ripped a rising shot over Elliott’s glove. Panarin, who leads rookies with 17 goals and 46 points, was set up when Patrick Kane threaded him a cross-ice backhand pass.
The goal ended Chicago’s scoreless streak at 155 minutes and 43 seconds. The Blackhawks hadn’t connected since 43 seconds into a 2-1 loss at Tampa Bay on Thursday night.
Shaw extended it to 2-0 at 4:56 of the third, connecting on a midair deflection during the first of the game’s two power plays. Camped at the edge of the crease, Shaw used the lower portion of the shaft of his stick to tip in Marian Hossa‘s shot from the left circle.
Crawford was busiest late in the final 2 minutes after the Blues pulled Elliott for an extra attacker.
NOTES: Backes played in his 700th NHL game, becoming the fifth Blues player to reach that milestone. … Chicago F Richard Panik was back in the lineup after being benched the last two games for missing a team game-day skate in Tampa last Thursday. … Chicago F Jiri Sekac was a healthy scratch after making his Blackhawks debut in Florida on Friday. He was acquired from Anaheim for F Ryan Garbutt last Thursday. … The Blackhawks don’t play at home again until Feb. 9.