RECAP: Blackhawks Beat The Blues 5-4 in OT

  
The Rink HawksVsBlues_10-2018-e1538922900968 RECAP: Blackhawks Beat The Blues 5-4 in OT st louis blues Jonathan Toews Chicago Blackhawks Blues Blackhawks

Coming off a rough season, working with a depleted blue line and having a big question mark hovering over the net, Chicago has certainly acquired it’s fair share of critics coming into the 2018 season.

Last night was a (big) test as the Blackhawks and Blues rekindled one of the best rivalries in hockey when the two squared off for the first time in this early 2018 season from the Enterprise Center in St. Louis – ultimately ending with a thrilling Hawks overtime victory.

Chicago was dominated in the first period by the combination of strong Blues attacks and shaky Blackhawks defense – resulting in a lot of turnovers by the Hawks that led to quality scoring opportunities for the Blues.

Defensemen Colton Parayko was the first to strike for the Blues at 14:42 into the contest with a quick shot from just above the circles. Cam Ward played it right by coming out to challenge, but it was just too quick of a shot for Chicago’s net minder to react to.

It only took a few minutes later for the Blues to get on the board again when star winger Vladimir Tarasenko capitalized on a turnover from Seabrook at 17:22. The Hawks’ veteran defenseman was checked hard along the boards and coughed the puck up in the Chicago’s zone.

As dominated as they were, the Hawks also had some bright spots in the first—starting with defenseman Erik Gustafsson who helped create a number of offensive opportunities by jumping up in the play and finding the soft spots in the Blues defense. However, the brightest spot came from the continued strong play of Jonathan Toews –who scored late in the first, after collecting a shot/hot pass from Gustafsson off the boards (behind Jake Allen) to beat the St. Louis goaltender. This goal would carry over and serve as a boost for the Hawks and a dagger of sorts for the Blues as it cut St. Louis’ lead in half.

The second period opened up with an invigorated Hawks squad and a new game plan: get pucks to the net. The plan worked, starting with Kane taking a pass from forward Nick Schmaltz, floating to the middle and burying a wrister top shelf over Allen’s blocker a mere 1:33 into the second to tie it up. As was the case in the first period, penalties continued to build up on both sides and disrupt the flow of the game—nothing of the feisty rivalry sort, just mostly hooking, interference and a too many men call on the Blues.

About ten minutes in, forward Marcus Kruger streaked down the middle of the ice to pick up the loose change from a Kane shot and bury the go-ahead goal that would put the Hawks up 3-2. This was a beautifully executed play by Kane, who came down the left wing boards and put a hard shot low and to the outside, causing Allen to kick out a juicy rebound that found Kruger’s stick. This whole play was made possible by a strong defensive play made by Seabrook in the Hawks zone when he got his stick into a passing lane to send the puck Kane’s way. Chicago managed to suppress the Blues to only three shots for the bulk of the period, but in the closing minutes, the dominance of St. Louis began to take hold again—a storm that the Hawks narrowly weathered until the horn sounded.

Entering the third period, the visitors seemed to revert to their first period form and the next 20 minutes belonged almost-exclusively to the Blues. The mixture of talent upfront and on the back end for St. Louis was on full display. Leading their charge was faceoff master Ryan O’Reilly. The star center was a big signing this offseason and the payoff is already evident, as the big man was completely dominant at the dot throughout the whole game. His 22:27 TOI saw him winning a lopsided amount of faceoffs to help set the Blues up for success every time he stepped on the ice.

The strikes were quick, as Tarasenko buried his second of the night on the PP at 3:58 into the period to tie it at 3-3. A mere 22 seconds later, defenseman Chris Butler put a wrist shot past a screened Ward for the 4-3 lead. With the pace the Blues were keeping, it seemed like that would probably be it for Chicago, until Toews answered back by picking up a rebound from young defenseman Henri Jokiharju, to get his second goal of the night to tie it at 4-4.

Perhaps the Hawks’ biggest test would come in the closing minutes of the third when the Blues went on the man advantage and kept the puck in the Hawks zone the entire two minutes of the PP. Props to Ward for standing tall and keeping the Hawks alive and forcing overtime—despite having little to no help from the gassed players in front of him.

Heading into OT felt like a toss up in terms of who would take away the win. Both sides had their opportunities, but the night would ultimately belong to Toews, who scored the game-winning goal, after picking up a blocked shot by Brandon Saad, to race towards Allen on a breakaway and beat the Blues net minder on the glove side– netting his fifth career hat trick, while simultaneously burying his second OT winner of the young season.

Pluses

  • Jonathan Toews has continued his strong play from the preseason and into the first two games of the regular season and appears he’s found his form again (fingers crossed).
  • For as much flak as he’s gotten, Cam Ward has come up big a number of times since rebounding from that rough first period of the Senators game.
  • Henri Jokiharju is progressing on the blue line and seems to be earning trust from the coaching staff and teammates.
  • Nick Schmaltz displayed some nifty puck possession at certain times throughout the game.
  • Although kind of limited tonight, rookie forward Dominik Kahun seems to compliment the first line well with his quick play and being strong on the puck.

Minuses

  • Turnovers.
  • Chris Kunitz seems non-existent as a veteran presence on the ice.
  • Brandon Saad seems to still be struggling to find his game since his original stint with the Hawks.

Suggestions

  • Keep going to the net and looking for redirects and rebounds; good things always happen in this area – as evident tonight.
  • More pucks to the net and less “cute”/forced passing (Schmaltz).
  • With a different ability on the blue line than years past, it’s important that this crew keep it simple: just get it out and make the smart pass when possible.

 

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Blackhawks Beat The Blues 5-4 in OT

This topic contains 2 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Tim M. 1 month, 1 week ago.

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  • #9022

    Matt Ross
    RinkRat

    Coming off a rough season, working with a depleted blue line and having big question mark hovering over the net, Chicago has certainly acquired it’s f
    [To continue reading full article, click here: RECAP: Blackhawks Beat The Blues 5-4 in OT]

    #9029

    Alan Parsons
    RinkRat

    Last night was the perfect case for why the loser point sucks.  Both teams stopped skating and trying with about 2 minutes left.  After the hawks killed the penalty, both teams stopped and were content to get the point.  Its bad.  And it dilutes the final standings.

    3 points for a regulation win

    2 points for an overtime win

    no points for an overtime loss

    1 point for an overtime tie.

    1 extra point for a shootout win.

    The shootout and the 3 on 3 are not hockey, IMO, and dont occur in the playoffs so why have them in the regular season?  Well, the NHL likes it for some reason, and casual fans seem to like it so I dont think it is going away.  So if it wont go away, then use the above point structure to make winning in regulation really important.

    Losers should not get a point.  Points should be very hard to come by.  Separate the men from the boys.

    #9030

    Tim M.
    RinkRat

    I would have to disagree about Saad. What he did didn’t really show up on the score sheet. I thought he back-checked well. It was his screen that led to Kane’s goal. He was one of the penalty killers on the whole two minutes late in the third period. And it was his block that led to the game-winning goal. A pretty impressive performance. Yeah, he didn’t score. But, his effort allowed others to score. That’s why it’s a team game.

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