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Blackhawks drop 1st game of season series to Blues 7-3

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Vladimir Tarasenko scores two goals early in the second and third periods.

NHL: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice for the Blues to hand the Blackhawks their first regulation loss on the road, 7-3, on Saturday at Enterprise Center in St. Louis.

It was Chicago’s first loss in the season series to the Blues. The Blackhawks won the previous two matchups this season in overtime.

Both of Tarasenko’s goals came within the first six minutes of the second and third periods, respectively.

Only 23 seconds into a Erik Gustafsson hooking penalty, Tarasenko gave the Blues a 3-2 lead. Less than four minutes after Tarasenko’s first goal, Tyler Bozak made it a two-goal game when he put the puck past Corey Crawford, who was screened by Patrick Maroon.

Patrick Kane cut the deficit to 4-3 at 16:59, beating Jake Allen glove side for his NHL-leading 11th goal of the season.

Two minutes later, Allen was out of the game after Zach Sanford crashed into the net on a rush by Brandon Saad. Allen, who made 16 saves, did not return and was replaced by Chad Johnson.

The Blues added three third-period goals, including an empty-netter by Alex Pietrangelo. Tarasenko scored at 15:40 of the third on a rebound, and Alexander Steen added a power-play goal with 16 seconds left.

It was the first time the Blues have held an opponent scoreless in the third this season. Prior to Saturday’s game, St. Louis had given up at least one goal in all nine games. It’s also the first time the Blues have held Alex DeBrincat without a point this season. He previously scored two points in each game in the season series.

Ryan O’Reilly, Pietrangelo and Sanford each had a goal and two assists for St. Louis.

Kane had two goals and assist, and Artem Anisimov had a goal and two assists for Chicago. Crawford made 30 saves for Chicago (6-3-2), who had won three of its past four and two straight in the season series against St. Louis.

O’Reilly scored 18 seconds into the game off a defensive miscue from 19-year-old rookie Henri Jokiharju, who left the Blues forward wide open after sliding over to his left side.

About three minutes later, Kane tied it with a shot from the high slot.

Sanford scored to make it 2-1 at 5:28, but Anisimov corralled a Pietrangelo turnover to tie it with a shot from the right circle with two and a half minutes left in the period.

The Blackhawks return to Chicago to host the Oilers at the United Center for the second half of a back-to-back.

3 Thoughts

Anisimov-Kane chemistry

Anisimov and Kane are back on the same line and finding success. The duo connected on all three Chicago goals, with Anisimov recording the primary assist on both of Kane’s tallies.

Jan Rutta in the doghouse

Rutta, who signed a one-year contract extension worth $2.25 million, sat the final 28:17 of the game on the bench as coach Joel Quenneville rolled with five defenseman. Rutta and Brandon Manning have been paired together this season, and have caused a lot of frustrated among Blackhawks fans and now the coaching staff.

The Blackhawks have help coming with Gustav Forsling, a left-hander, working his way back from an offseason wrist surgery in the AHL right now. There’s also Connor Murphy (back), who is expected to return in December. Forsling could return as soon as the team’s Canadian road trip.

Let them fight, or protect them

Brent Seabrook and Ivan Barbashev got into a scrap with a minute and change left in the game. A linesman stepped in to break it up before the two players could deliver any punches, but he didn’t have any help. He grabbed Seabrook, which allowed Barbashev to deliver an uppercut to a defenseless player. That’s poor communication amongst the officials that leaves a player open to injury without the ability to block a punch.

3 Stars

  1. Ryan O’Reilly (STL) — 1 goal, 2 assists
  2. Vladimir Tarasenko (STL) — 2 goals
  3. Patrick Kane (CHI) — 2 goals, 1 assist