Vinnie Hinostroza’s game-winner caps Blackhawks rally

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Scott Darling makes a save on a point-blank shot from St. Louis’ Kyle Brodziak in the second period on Saturday. (AP Photo)

ST. LOUIS — Vinnie Hinostroza blew a golden opportunity in the second period off an Andrew Desjardins rebound and trudged to the bench in frustration. That’s when a guy with 260 career goals told the guy with one career goal to just relax.

“I came back to the bench, and [Patrick Kane] told me he’s had many of those droughts,” Hinostroza said. “And if I just think positively, they’re going to start going in. That’s what I did, and luckily it went in.”

Hinostroza’s game-winning goal in Saturday night’s wild 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Blues was a lot more than just luck. As he tried to screen Blues goalie Jake Allen for a Brent Seabrook shot, Hinostroza found a rebound skittering at his feet. He kicked it to his backhand and flung a shot past Allen with 4:25 left to break a 4-4 tie and help the Hawks wrap up a 3-0-0 road trip. Hinostroza unleashed his frustration with a mighty roar from his knees in celebration.

“It definitely feels good,” Hinostroza said. “Been a while since I scored last. But I feel like I’ve been getting a lot of chances, so it’s good to see it hit the back of the net.”

The Hawks needed some secondary scoring after Artem Anisimov left the game in the first period with an upper-body injury. He didn’t return and is day-to-day, according to coach Joel Quenneville. He’s questionable for Sunday’s home game against San Jose.

So is Scott Darling, who gave up four goals for the second straight game. He won both, thanks to 11 goals by the Hawks, but Quenneville seemed to think the big goalie is a bit fatigued after the busiest stretch of his career —eight games in 15 nights — which means it’s possible Lars Johansson makes his NHL debut against the Sharks.

Like every goaltender, Darling feels he plays better when he plays more often. But there’s a limit for any goalie, and Darling might have reached his. Naturally, he denied being tired.

“When you play this much, just like any goalie, there’s going to be some games where you have some bad bounces or bad luck,” he said. “You’re not going to have shutouts every game. You just have to roll with it and be happy and grateful that we won. Put it in the rear-view mirror and get ready for the next one.”

Indeed, the goals weren’t all on Darling —one ticked off a broken stick, another he never saw thanks to a Seabrook screen. But the Hawks were happy to bail him out after he did it so often in the first handful of games after Corey Crawford’s appendectomy.

That’s always a good feeling to help him out a little bit, too,” said Niklas Hjalmarsson, who tied the game one minute into the third with his fourth goal, tying a career high.

The Hawks also got goals from Dennis Rasmussen, Patrick Kane (sprung on a breakaway by a terrific Trevor van Riemsdyk pass, snapping his nine-game goal drought), Brian Campbell, and Artemi Panarin, whose empty-netter capped a three-point night. The Blues led 1-0, 2-1, 3-2, and 4-3. But the Hawks answered every time in a rollicking preview of the Jan. 2 Winter Classic just down the road at Busch Stadium.

“It’s always fun games against St. Louis,” said Hjalmarsson, who cautioned that the Hawks can’t keep playing “catch-up” in every game. “They get pumped up to play against us and we get pumped up to play against them. It’s always a little extra fun to win against these guys.”


Twitter: @marklazerus

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