“It was a bad start. It was a bad middle… it was as close as you can get to brutal.”
That’s how head coach Joel Quenneville described the Chicago Blackhawks’ game tonight. The Hawks fell 5-2 to Central Division rivals the St. Louis Blues. Jaden Schwartz led the Blues, scoring a hat trick. Vladimir Tarasenko, perennial Hawks killer, and Kyle Brodziak also tallied goals for the Winged Note. The Blackhawks did tally two power play goals late on the third period courtesy of Richard Panik and Ryan Hartman, but it was not enough to overcome the sluggish start that they had.
The Blues outshot the Blackhawks 33-24. The Blues held the Blackhawks to 8 shots in the first two periods of the game. Corey Crawford made 28 saves. The Hawks’ record fall to 4-2-1, and their record versus the Central Division falls to 1-2-0. The power play, albeit scoring those two late ones in the waning moments of the third, continues to struggle. The Hawks were 2 for 7 on the man advantage, only mustering ten SOG.
If there is a silver lining in tonight’s debacle, it has to be the penalty kill. The Hawks killed all five penalties they face, limiting the Blues to only eight SOG on their man advantage. But it still doesnt erase the fact that the Hawks gave up five penalties, all tripping calls, in the first two frames of the game. An abundance of turnovers led to way too many scoring chances for the Blues. The Hawks also failed in developing any kind of sustained pressure on Jake Allen, who adeptly absorbed every one and done opportunity he faced up until the two late goals he coughed up.
The Blackhawks need to quickly put this game behind them, as they will have to quickly turn around and face the Edmonton Oilers Thursday night at the United Center. The Oilers come into the UC losing their last four games. Captain Hockey Jesus, I mean, Connor McDavid, only has three assists in those last four games. Apart from their recent record, the Oilers are far from an easy out. They are a speed team, first and foremost, and you can never know when that speed can suddenly catalyze a good outing from the Oil.
Tonight was Nick Schmaltz’s return after missing the last three games. He had one SOG in 18:07 of ice time. Jordin Tootoo, Michal Roszival and Marian Hossa are still on long term injury reserve.
My three stars:
No one. The Blues suck.