RECAP: Blackhawks defeat the Blues 4–3 in the shootout


On Wednesday Night Hockey, the Chicago Blackhawks welcomed their friends from the “Show-Me” state to the United Center for their final matchup of the season. The St. Louis Blues are clawing at the division lead, while the Blackhawks hoped to play spoiler after being eliminated from playoff contention by the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night.

Prior to the game, the Esposito brothers were honored together for “One More Shift” in a Blackhawks sweater. There is no doubt the moment had to be special for the brothers, players and fans alike, as these two greats, and Top 100 players of all time, were honored before Wednesday’s clash.

Dylan Sikura was sent down to the Rockford on Tuesday. In return, the Blackhawks recalled defenseman Dennis Gilbert for his NHL debut. The lines returned to similar form, with a few exceptions. They were as follows:

Drake CaggiulaJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane

Alex DeBrincatDylan StromeBrendan Perlini

Brandon SaadArtem AnisimovDominik Kahun

Chris KunitzMarcus KrugerJohn Hayden

Duncan KeithErik Gustafsson

Carl DahlstromBrent Seabrook

Dennis GilbertConnor Murphy

Cam Ward

David Kampf is injured with a facial injury and both Gustav Forsling and Slater Koekkoek were healthy scratches on Wednesday night.

First period:

The first period began in pretty quiet fashion for both teams. The early portion of the frame was highlighted by sloppy plays and poor shot attempts. Neither team was able to generate much through the first 10 minutes.

After a slow first half of the period, the Blues found themselves with a golden opportunity to take the lead. With eight minutes left in the stanza, youngster Robert Thomas was sprung on a breakaway. Ward denied the bid and kept the visitors off the board.

With under four minutes remaining in the period, the Blackhawks’ top line created a quality opportunity. Toews carried the puck up the ice and found Kane at the offensive face-off dots in the Blues’ zone. Kane fired what looked like a shot on net that was tipped intentionally by the captain, giving the Blackhawks a 1–0 lead late in the first period.

Not much else happened early, and the Blackhawks took their 1–0 lead into the first intermission against the red-hot Blues.

Second period:

The second period did not begin well for the home team. Gustafsson let a puck get by him on a pinch attempt and sprung Vladimir Tarasenko and Ryan O’Reilly on a two-on-one against Keith. Tarasenko elected to shoot from the left wing side and buried a beautiful wrist shot to tie the game at 1–1.

A few minutes later, the Blues nearly struck again. This time, the Blues were short handed when Oskar Sundqvist found himself on a breakaway against Ward. Ward made a beautiful save on the play, just getting enough of the puck for it to hit the crossbar and harmlessly float to the corner.

With just under seven minutes remaining in the middle frame, Saad made a great play in his own zone to poke the puck away from David Perron. Saad started the two-on-two up ice with Kahun and Saad quickly passed the puck to his fellow winger.

Saad crashed the net, along with Anisimov, while Kahun pulled up just over the blue line. Kahun skated to the middle of the ice and fired a wrist shot at the net. Anisimov, on a fly by in front of Jake Allen, tipped the puck past Allen and gave the Blackhawks the 2–1 lead.

A late power play for the Blackhawks would not amount to anything and teams entered the second intermission with the score still 2–1.

Third period:

The early portion of the third period was similar to that of the first, neither team could generate any meaningful offense. With about eight and a half minutes remaining, the Blackhawks started up ice as the forwards went to change.

Strome was all alone on the left wing side of the ice in his own zone. Strome was able to find Kane, who bolted ahead after coming off the bench, for a breakaway from the blue line in. Kane used his dynamic speed and roofed a perfect backhand shot to give the Blackhawks a 3–1 lead. Initially, the referees were unsure if the puck entered the net due to how fast it came out of the net. However, after review, the goal was good and Kane recorded his 42nd goal and career-high 107th point.

The celebration would not last. On the next shift, primary assist getter Dylan Strome was sent to the penalty box, giving the visitors life on the power play. Less than a minute after Kane’s goal, Perron beat Ward blocker side to cut the deficit to just one at 3–2.

The Blackhawks were able to fend off the Blues for the bulk of the third period. As time dwindled down, Allen was pulled for the extra attacker. Kane missed wide on an open-net chance, sending St. Louis back into the Chicago zone.

The Blues’ third line gave the team new life. Patrick Maroon carried the puck in on the left wing boards with just over 40 seconds remaining. He fired a pass backdoor to a crashing and wide open Tyler Bozak to even the game at 3–3. Bozak was all alone in the blue paint and stuffed the puck past Ward to send the game to overtime.


The overtime period would not amount to much for either team. Both teams had notable chances, but neither side could capitalize in the five-minute, three-on-three frame.

The best chance of overtime came from Saad. As his linemates changed, Saad carried the puck in, one-on-one, against St. Louis forward Brayden Schenn. Saad made a move to freeze Schenn and created an open chance from the face-off dot in. The power forward brought the puck nicely to his backhand, but was denied by Allen to ultimately send the game to a shootout.


Toews and the Blackhawks elected to go first in the shootout and the captain did not disappoint. Toews skated off to Allen’s left, back to the middle and gave a quick backhand-forehand combination before burying a shot high past Allen’s blocker. Chicago took a quick 1–0 lead in the shootout.

Toews’ goal was ultimately the only tally in the “fifth period”. Kane struck iron and DeBrincat beat Allen but could not elevate the backhand shot. Fortunately, Ward stopped all three St. Louis shooters to preserve the 4–3 Blackhawks victory in the shootout.

Quick hits:

  • Hey kid, welcome to the show: Gilbert made his NHL debut on Wednesday night against the Blues. The former Notre Dame defenseman has played well for the IceHogs all season, being paired with Henri Jokiharju often as Rockford’s top pairing. With the Blackhawks officially out of the playoff race, it makes sense to give some of their young defenseman a look. The Hawks have a logjam of players on the back end, so sorting out the good from the bad is necessary to clear roster spots if they want young players to come up and contribute.
  • Kane’s career high: After scoring his 42nd goal on Wednesday, Kane set a new career high in points for a season with 107. The 30-year-old winger has been sensational all season. Had the Blackhawks made the playoffs, a strong case could have been made for Kane as league MVP. In deciding which player was truly most important to their team, there is no doubt Kane has a better case than Tampa Bay’s Nikita Kucherov and possibly Edmonton’s Connor McDavid for the award. Nonetheless, Kane looks ageless at this point, and a strong offseason by General Manager Stan Bowman and the rest of the front office could position this team for one more run with Kane and Toews in their primes.
  • Saad is worth $6 million: Saad receives a lot of hate from the Blackhawks fan base, claiming he is not worth his contract. However, the 26-year-old has 46 points (23 goals, 23 assists) and plays an excellent two-way game. Wednesday night’s game is a prime example of that. Saad was all over the ice making plays at both ends for the Blackhawks. He may not be a 70-point player, but Saad is worth every penny of his contract. If the forward group does not have to babysit the defensemen next year on defense, as they have done so heavily this season, we could easily see Saad erupt for a 30-goal, 30-assist season while still playing that relentless two-way game.

The Blackhawks remain in Chicago after Wednesday’s game, waiting to welcome the Dallas Stars to town on Friday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CST.

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