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We’re All Just A Work in Progress: Blues 6, Blackhawks 3

The Blackhawks go down 0-2 in the preseason after losing to the Blues Friday night.

St Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks fell 5-3 to the St. Louis Blues Friday night in their second 2021 preseason game.

The Blues took a 1-0 lead a little over halfway through the first period just after the Blackhawks killed off two penalties. Nathan Todd (which is apparently not a fake name) sniped the puck perfectly over Marc-André Fleury’s shoulder after a Blackhawks turnover in their own zone.

Later in the first, Reese Johnson and Dmitri Osipov dropped the gloves at different times to face some Blues players who also have reportedly have legit names but that’s suspect, let’s be honest.

Midway through the second period, Pavel Buchnevich (finally a believable name) scored shorthanded to put the Blues up 2-0. Luckily, Alex Debrincat would respond with a goal on the same power play with assists from Tyler Johnson and Patrick Kane.

The Blues went up 3-1 with 5:15 left in the second period when Robert Thomas beat Colin Delia, who’d replaced Fleury in net halfway through the game.

Caleb Jones cut the Blues lead to 3-2 in the final two minutes of the period off a sweet feed from DeBrincat.

The Blues regained their two-goal lead early in the third after a Ivan Barbashev power play goal. Vladimir Tarasenko added another for the Blues to make it 5-2 with 5:25 remaining in the game.

Ryan Carpenter got one back for the Blackhawks when he shoveled a Calvin de Haan deflection into the net to make it 5-3 Blues with 4:02 left.

The Blues then dusted off the game with an empty-net goal from Jake Neighbours to win 6-3.

Notes

  • The NHL seems very serious about cracking down on cross-checking as both Ivan Barbashev and Nolan Allan were called early in the first for what would’ve been an everyday play last season.
  • Alex DeBrincat was arguably the best forward tonight. He improved a lot with his playmaking last season and continued to flash that skill in this game — and not just with his assist on C. Jones’ goal. With DeBrincat’s progress on the defensive side of the game, he could be a triple threat of scoring, playmaking, and defending.
  • Ryan Carpenter was arguably the second most positively noticeable forward. His line with Dylan Strome who lead the team in takeaways but overall was just kind of there and Alex Nylander who was also fairly invisible was the only line to be above water in terms of shot attempt (63.64 percent) and expected goals share (59.90 percent).
  • All four centers were 50 percent or better at the faceoff dot: Jonathan Toews won 72 percent, Tyler Johnson and Strome both won 78 percent, and Johnson won 50 percent. Can’t remember the last game when that happened.
  • Caleb Jones had another nice game, activating offensively when needed and playing quietly but effectively on the defensive side. It’ll be interesting to see how the bottom-three defenders shake out between C. Jones, Kalynuk, and Stillman.
  • Seth Jones and Jake McCabe had a rough outing tonight, especially when it came to suppressing shots against as they were some of the worst on either team. But they were tasked with the heaviest workload with the lowest offensive zone start percentage and against the best quality of competition.
  • Special teams was a mixed bag. The penalty kill looked decent most of the night, but allowed a goal again late after a breakdown and bad bounce. The power play looked competent with lots of movement and it scored, but it also allowed a shorthanded goal against. The latter is something to watch as the Blackhawks were tied with the second most shorthanded goals against last season.
  • Blackhawks played solid quality suppression hockey for most of the first period, keeping the Blues completely out of the high-danger areas at 5-on-5 play. The second and third periods were not good. The second was particularly lopsided, which is another trend to pay attention to considering second periods were another issue for the Blackhawks last season.
  • The above isn’t ideal considering the Blackhawks fielded more and higher quality NHL players than the Blues, but it was the first game for several of those NHL players. In comparison, the Blues are on their fourth with several players participating in two or more of those. As always, don’t read too much into one-game samples.

Game Charts

What’s next

The Blackhawks face the St. Louis Blues again on Saturday night at Cable Dahmer Arena in Independence, Mo. for a 7:00 p.m. start.