After defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday to sweep their season series, the Blackhawks return to division play against the St. Louis. Coming off the Jason Dickinson game, the Blackhawks look to get secondary scoring from someone other than Connor Bedard.
Luke Richardson rolled out this lineup against the Blues:
#Blackhawks lineup vs. Blues:
Extras: Entwistle, Perry, Zaitsev
IR: Athanasiou, Hall, Tinordi
— Charlie Roumeliotis (@CRoumeliotis) November 26, 2023
The Blues drew first blood in this game as Jake Neighbors capitalized on a broken play and beat Soderblom for the first goal of the game. The Blues were not done, as a developing three-on-two turned into a goal for Kevin Hayes. The former Blackhawks draft pick beat Soderblom high on the stick side to give the Blues a two-goal lead.
The Hawks answered later in the period with a goal from Ryan Donato. Issac Phillips wired a shot up high that was deflected by Ryan Donato for the goal.
BOOM ‼️ pic.twitter.com/PBgI3MYcI8
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) November 26, 2023
The Blues answered with a power-play goal from Pavel Buchnevich. Buchnevich put home the perfect cross-ice from Robert Thomas. The first period ended with the Hawk down 3-1.
In the second period, the Hawks brought more energy to start the period. They had some good chances but failed to capitalize early. In the second period, both the Hawks and Blue traded chances but the score remained 3-1 after two periods.
In the third period, the Hawk came out buzzing to desperately try to get back in the game. With less than 10 minutes to go in the period, Jake Neighbors put a shot past Soderblom to cement the victory for the Blues. Soderblom’s overall numbers do not look good in this one but he made several great saves to keep this game close.
The hardworking Boris Katchouck got rewarded with a breakaway chance and beat Jordan Binngton with a nice move. The final score was 4-2 in favor of the Blues.
A recurring theme of the Blackhawks season is that they get down early and do not shoot the puck. The theme continued as the Hawks went down 2-0 early in the first period before the Cole Guttman line started generating some energy for the Hawks.
The Hawks were able to get back into the game in the first period with a solid power-play performance that ended with no goals but it gave the team momentum which cashed in with the Donato goal. Donato was set up by a shot from the point by Phillips. Phillips has been a pleasant surprise since his recall from Rockford. He played solid bottom-pairing minutes and contributed offensively. As Darren Pang pointed out on the broadcast, Phillips is getting more confident with each game and his cap control has been improving as well.
After getting back into the game, the Hawks surrendered another goal on a cross-ice pass. The stick placement of the Hawks defensemen has led to some easy goals for opponents this season. The Hawks are not putting their stick down in obvious passing lanes on defense. This has to be a focal point, especially with their young defensemen.
The Hawks game has to be a physical grinding style of play. When they have enjoyed offensive zone time, it was lead by the third and fourth line grinding on the Blues defense. Reese Johnson and Boris Katchouk have been consistently playing this style of hockey this season. Katchouk has been very noticeable after being a healthy scratch for 6 of 10 games. He got a late goal to make the score more palatable but it did not matter.
Soderblom played well in net despite the great chances given up by the young defense.
The Blackhawks need to get off to better starts in games to have a chance. The Blackhawks’ next game is Tuesday, November 28 against the Seattle Kraken.