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I’m Dead Inside: Blues 3, Blackhawks 1

Another loss is just another day at The Office for the Blackhawks.

Chicago Blackhawks v St Louis Blues Photo by Joe Puetz/NHLI via Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks’ offensive struggles continued Thursday night as they fell 3-1 to the St. Louis Blues at the Enterprise Center.

The Blues took an early 1-0 lead just 3:20 into the first period. A Jack Johnson pass was intercepted by the official’s skate, making the puck bounce to Alexey Toropchenko, who then sent it between his legs out front where Josh Leivo eventually finished with the goal.

The Blackhawks tied the game at one midway through the first period. After a couple of chances from the Blackhawks on the power play that just missed, Seth Jones and Patrick Kane cycled on the left side and then the latter fired the puck from the circle to get it past Jordan Binnington.

The Blues regained the lead 8:40 into the second after Calle Rosen absolutely ripped a shot from the high slot. The goal is made possible only because of Boris Katchouk’s blind backhand pass directly into the slot.

The score could have been much worse than 2-1 after the second period for the Blackhawks if not for Alex Stalock:

Unfortunately, despite a major push by the Blackhawks in the third period, the Blues tacked on an empty-net goal from Brandon Saad, and the Blackhawks were defeated 3-1.

Notes

  • The Blackhawks had a very solid first period, but the game went off the rails for them a bit in the second, as they were out-attempted 23-9, outshot 15-5, and out-chanced 12-3. Now, the Blackhawks, in general, get curb-stomped in shot stats pretty often. But the Blues are one of the worst shot-generating teams in the league so it’s honestly pretty embarrassing.
  • The Blues are also one of the worst shot suppression teams in the league, and yet the Blackhawks could only get 22 shots on goal. Not great, Bob.
  • The Blackhawks redeemed themselves somewhat in the third period with their effort — owning 65 percent of shot attempts and 63.75 percent of the expected goals — but the issue is they just don’t have the offensive firepower to finish those chances this season. It’s been especially bad during this long stretch of losses: Chicago’s now lost 18 of its last 20 games.
  • Getting Kane going would definitely help with the Blackhawks offensive issues. Kane scored his second goal in three games for his sixth of the season, and while that may not seem like much, Kane actually had just seven goals at this point last season — but he finished with 26. There’s a chance he’s going to break out soon. However, it’s important to note that Kane didn’t start scoring consistently last season until mid-January. when Dylan Strome was reunited with Kane and Alex DeBrincat. So, the question is: do the Blackhawks have anyone who can click with Kane enough to get him going more consistently?
  • Again, Katchouk can be fired into the sun, this time for one of the most horrendously dumb turnovers ever. Rosen’s goal will be listed as unassisted, but we all know Katchouk is the primary idiot on that goal.
  • Caleb Jones had a rough game: he seemed to be easily overpowered in several puck battles, had some coverage issues, and just generally seemed out of sorts. Only Jack Johnson was arguably worse defensively on the blueline, but only one of these players is potentially in the Blackhawks plans for next year or further down.
  • Speaking of J. Johnson, can he please, please stop shooting the puck so much. Normally the Blackhawks could use more shots, but J. Johnson is terrible: he had eight shot attempts, with only three getting through and all of them were clean looks that Binnington easily stopped. It amounted to just 0.08 expected goals, which is indicative of how useless his shots tend to be.
  • Raddysh had a decent game, probably his most noticeable from a positive perspective in a while. If he’d finished this breakaway in the first, maybe the game would have turned out differently:
  • Toews’ line in the third period was really impressive. He, Kurashev, and Raddysh finished the game with a team-high 72.73 percent share of shot attempts while on the ice — and while while typically facing top quality of competition on the Blues.
  • Lafferty, Dickinson, and Athanasiou were the second best line of the night: their speed and tenacity caused some major issues for the Blues for most of the game. Too bad none of them really have particularly good hands.
  • After a pretty terrible game against Carolina, Phillips redeemed himself pretty well this game. Coach Luke Richardson agreed — so why not play Phillips more than about 14 minutes?
  • Man, I really love Stalock. I didn’t think I’d feel that way when the Blackhawks signed him, but there’s something endearing about how he plays in net. He’s an absolute mess some of the time but that’s because he’s always going all out (and he’s not the most foundational goalie ever, let’s be honest).
  • Ultimately, this was a decently fun game to watch, even if losing to the Blues always leaves a sour taste in the mouth. It’d still be better to lose 5-4 rather than these low scoring losses, but oh well.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Josh Leivo (STL) — 1 goal, the only one that was semi-impressive
  2. Brayden Schenn (STL) — 11 shots on goal, crazy
  3. Justin Faulk (STL) — 1 assist, 24:42 TOI

What’s next

The Blackhawks wrap up their three-game road trip against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday afternoon for a noon start.