Well, Blackhawks fans, buckle in for a rough ride to the end of the season. After the trade deadline saw both Erik Gustafsson and the beloved Robin Lehner dealt for future Blackhawks prospects in the form of draft picks, Slava Demin, and Malcolm Subban. This all but shut the door on any thought that the Blackhawks may have had at making the playoffs, along with the coming of what hopefully will be a quick rebuild to get back to being relevant.
This game already started off rough, with Connor Murphy taking a tripping penalty with just eleven seconds gone in the game. The Blues made quick work of that, putting one past Corey Crawford thirty three seconds into the game to make the score 1–0 Blues. Then, the Blackhawks took another penalty to give the Blues another chance with a man advantage. Chicago killed that one off thanks to some great saves by Crawford and some help from a friendly post.
The Blackhawks got a power play of their own when Marco Scandella got the stick up high on Brandon Saad, putting the Chicago up a man. They also made very quick work of their advantage, with Jonathan Toews winning the faceoff cleanly right back to Duncan Keith, who put his one-hundredth goal in his career past Jordan Binnington to knot the score up at 1–1.
Then, with just under six minutes to play in the period, Toews won another faceoff back to a defenseman, getting it back to Connor Murphy who put a wrister past Binnington to make it 2–1 Blackhawks. After some more stops from Crawford, the Blackhawks got another powerplay that would carry over into the second period when Murphy took a high stick after giving up a powerplay earlier in the period. Things would end at a score of 2–1 Blackhawks after one.
The Blackhawks started the period with the powerplay that was carried over from period one, and they made use of the opportunity after passing the puck around and getting some shots on net, the puck found its way to Patrick Kane who wristed a beautiful shot off of the post and in to make it 3–1 Blackhawks.
After getting a lot of pressure on the Blues’ net, the Blackhawks allowed the Blues to put the same amount of pressure on their goal with the puck eventually finding Robert Thomas, who was able to put the puck over the shoulder of Crawford to make it 3–2 Blackhawks.
The next few minutes involved a lot of back and forth chances, with Ryan O’Reilly getting a great chance that he put through the blue paint and the Blackhawks having a flurry of chances down on the other end as well. They killed off a Slater Koekkoek delay of game penalty in the last couple of minutes of the period to keep the score 3–2 Blackhawks at the end of the period.
The period started off with a scare, as a Colton Parayko slapshot was stopped by Crawford, with O’Reilly appearing to put the rebound in. Fortunately, he batted it in with his hand, and the goal didn’t count. Then, Brayden Schenn found a streaking O’Reilly, who put the puck past Crawford to make it 3–3. Very shortly thereafter, Zach Sanford put the puck past Crawford again to make it 4–3 Blues and put the Blackhawks down for the first time since the first minutes of the game.
A couple of minutes later, Keith put the puck on net, which then bounced around to Matthew Highmore who put the puck into the back of the net and tie the game up again at 4–4. In what continued to be a back and forth period, the Blackhawks re-took the lead on the powerplay on a quick released shot from Saad out in front to make it 5–4 Blackhawks. Then, the Blues came back down to the other end, and Justin Faulk put a shot from the point into the back of the Blackhawks’ net to tie this crazy game at 5 all. Kirby Dach got called for hooking, which gave the Blues another powerplay in the game.
After a crazy sequence in front of the Chicago net, Sanford potted his second goal of the night to make it 6–5 Blues. Adam Boqvist got taken down driving to the net, setting up yet another Blackhawks powerplay, and giving them a chance to tie the game. They didn’t get a lot of good chances on goal, though, and weren’t able to convert for the first time all night. The game would end with a 6–5 Blues victory, putting to rest any last hopes that may have been remaining for the Blackhawks going on a tear and getting into the playoffs.
Now let’s go along the boards to see what was being talked about during this game:
Jonathan Toews wins the faceoff. Goes straight to the net. Takes away the eyes of Jordan Binnington. And Connor Murphy’s blast goes in.
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) February 26, 2020
The first two Blackhawks goals went this exact same way: Jonathan Toews won a faceoff back to the point and the defenseman put a shot on net that went through because of a screen out in front.
Robin Lehner was only with the Blackhawks for a short time, but he made a huge impact.
He motivated Jonathan Toews. He mentored Alex Nylander. He filled the locker room with a booming voice and honest thoughts.
Without him, the bee has lost its buzz. https://t.co/TO54GtEKgW
— Ben Pope (@BenPopeCST) February 25, 2020
I couldn’t agree more with this. Robin Lehner had such an impact on us as fans as well, and we greatly respect his courage to share his story and to be willing to share what he’s gone through with mental health struggles. He’s an inspiration and such a great guy who will be sorely missed in this organization.