Chicago looked to sharpen things up against the St. Louis Blues after falling to the Carolina Hurricanes last night 6–2. The visiting Blackhawks were without Patrick Kane as continued to miss time with Covid-19. St. Louis entered tonight’s affair with a 5–1–0 record and firing on all cylinders in the Central Division.
Marc-Andre Fleury started in net tonight looking to get on track this young season after starting -0–4–0 with an .839 save percentage.
Chicago started the contest with a step slow but Fleury played excellent in net. Fleury would stop all 14 shots he faced in the opening frame to keep his team in the contest. Chicago would only muster four shots in the first period, not putting too much pressure on Blues’ goaltender Jordan Binnington.
Chicago would not find the back of the net in the two first period power plays and would kill off the Blues’ only man advantage after forward Adam Gaudette interfered with Blues forward Brayden Schenn.
The middle frame was about as even as a period as one would want from Chicago, especially in a 0–0 game and having not won a game yet this season. Chicago would pepper Binnington with 12 shots on net but could not find an answer to the goaltender’s puzzle.
Chicago managed a few sustained pressure play in the offensive zone, a much different scenario than the first period of play tonight.
At the 7:25 mark in the period, Blues defenseman Torey Krug beat Fleury for his first goal of the season. The goal, assisted by forwards Vladamir Tarasenko and David Perron, came on the power play after forward Alex DeBrincat was called tripping on Schenn.
The pressure Chicago put on the Blues after they fell behind 1–0 was almost non-existent. The lack of urgency the Blackhawks bring on a nightly basis is extremely alarming, especially after giving up a goal. Is this lineup taking the laid-back mantra of Head Coach Jeremy Colliton?
Chicago would outshoot the home team 9–8 in the period but the Blues would win the game total 37–25.
Binnington’s shutout was his first this season and first against the Blackhawks.
Fleury finally looked like the reigning Vezina Trophy winner of last season, stopping the first 30 shots he faced tonight.
Chicago looked better structurally in the defensive zone, even with Erik Gustaffson in the lineup. Overall, the Blackhawks were a much tighter team and did a nice job in the neutral ice.
Although it would not happen until the third period, Chicago fell behind again tonight and had to chase the lead.
After being shut out tonight, Chicago has no firepower outside of DeBrincat and Dach in the lineup when Kane is not on the ice. This lineup is not built to roll four lines and be competitive. Former General Manager Stan Bowman created a roster with no secondary scoring and it continues to be an issue.
Chicago will be back on home ice on Monday, November 1 when the Ottawa Senators come to town for a 7:00 p.m. CDT puck drop.