RECAP: Blues toy with the Blackhawks and easily win 4–0

  

After taking a double beating at the hands of the Colorado Avalanche this weekend, the Blackhawks’ schedule did not get much easier, as they faced the defending Stanley Cup champs Monday night.

After two big losses, several players were either injured or sick, so the Blackhawks would have their work cut out for themselves before ever taking the ice.  In fact, they only dressed seventeen players (eleven forwards, six defensemen) which meant Patrick Kane was going to play virtually half the game.

In goal, the decision could have been a toss-up for head coach Jeremy Colliton, but Robin Lehner came down with flu-like symptoms and was ruled out, thus making Corey Crawford the default starter.  Kevin Lankinen was recalled from Rockford on an emergency basis this morning to back up Crawford.

These were the Blackhawks’ starting lines:
Brandon SaadJonathan Toews – Original Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat – Ryan Carpenter – Clone Patrick Kane
Dominik Kubalik David KampfAlexander Nylander
Zack SmithKirby DachAnton Wedin

Olli Maatta Connor Murphy
Calvin de HaanBrent Seabrook
Slater KoekkoekErik Gustafsson

First period

It didn’t take long for the Blackhawks to surrender a lead to the Blues. Just over two and a half minutes into the first period, an innocent Blues dump in hit the end board and eluded Corey Crawford and landed in the lap of Mackenzie MacEachern. MacEachern quickly chipped the puck through Crawford’s glove before the fans had all taken their seats.

The bad play didn’t stop there though. Chicago earned a questionable power play but gave up more chances (including a shorthanded breakaway) during the advantage.

With just under six minutes left in the first period (following a bad call on Patrick Kane) the Blackhawks defense left Corey Crawford to fend for himself and fight for position with Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz won the battle and redirected a long shot past the helpless Blackhawks goaltender, giving the defending champs a 2–0 lead.

That was how the period ended, with shots on net tied at ten apiece.

Second period

The Blackhawks came out and played like a competent NHL team in the second period and while they did put any goals up on the scoreboard, they did outshoot their opponents. The good part was that the Blues didn’t score either. Each team had a power play, as well.

When the teams broke for the intermission, the Blackhawks led in shots for the period 11–9 and 21–19 overall.

Third period

At the midway point of the third period, shockingly wide open Blues center Brayden Schenn lined up a slowly approaching puck and one-timed it over Corey Crawford’s blocker side to give his team a 3–0 lead.

David Kampf had a few late chances but couldn’t find the back of the net if his life depended on it.

With 1:49 left in the game, Olli Maatta egregiously turned the puck over to a waiting Tyler Bozak at the Blackhawks blue line and Bozak blew his shot past Crawford to give the Blues a 4–0 lead.

That was all she wrote at the United Center as Jake Allen shut out the home team despite outshooting St. Louis 38–30.

Pluses

  • The Blackhawks didn’t lose 6–0 and they actually outshot a far superior opponent.

Minuses

  • I hate harping on this but when you General Manager is branded as some kind of salary cap savant, and you’re forced to play one player short because of sloppiness in cap management, the GM is doing an awful job.  Fans paid money to watch a team that couldn’t ice enough players.
  • The crowd was absolutely lifeless and they booed the Blackhawks off the ice following the game.
  • For all the people crying that Gustafsson needed to be back on the top power play, he played 3:17 of powerplay time and didn’t do a damn thing.  He also played more than every player not named Patrick Kane.  I cannot say I heard his name or saw him do anything productive the entire night.  If you told me he was a healthy scratch, I would have believed you.

The Blackhawks will face the league-leading Boston Bruins at the TD Garden on Thursday. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. CST.

Center Ice Forums RECAP: Blues toy with the Blackhawks and easily win 4–0

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