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And the Hero Will Drown: Blues 5, Blackhawks 1

Just not enough from the Blackhawks on Saturday night in St. Louis.

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

A goal just before the end of the second period appeared to break the backs of the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night during a 5-1 loss on the road to the St. Louis Blues.

David Perron opened the scoring for St. Louis and Dakota Joshua doubled the advantaged later in the first period:

Trailing 2-0 after one, Chicago went to the power play early in the second and it became a two-man advantage soon after, leading to the Blackhawks first goal of the game thanks to some neat stickwork by Dylan Strome off a Patrick Kane pass:

The Blackhawks were less than a minute away from heading to the third period down by only one goal when a back-breaking tally was scored by the Blues. After multiple Chicago turnovers, Robert Thomas set up Vladimir Tarasenko for his missile of a wrist shot:

In the third period, St. Louis put the game away when Oskar Sundqvist pounced on a rebound to make it a 4-1 Blues’ lead.

Jordan Kyrou added some insurance later in the third.

And that’ll do it.

Notes

  • St. Louis hit another gear in the final 20 minutes and Chicago did not have an answer. That probably speaks to the gap in quality between these two teams. St. Louis owned the 17:37 of 5-on-5 ice time in the third: 21-3 in shot attempts, 12-2 in shots and 13-2 in scoring chances for an expected goal share of 81.52 percent. Yikes.
  • Dominik Kubalik turns the puck over near center ice and then Jake McCabe fires a hand grenade at Patrick Kane, which each of those turnovers preceding the goal late in the second period which felt like the turning point. The margins for error are never that big in the NHL, but it sure does feel like the Blackhawks find more ways to consistently erase those margins than other teams, doesn’t it?
  • We all saw the play where Brandon Hagel had a mini-breakaway but opted to pass the puck, right? Cool. No need to pile on then. Hagel’s wildly overachieved his draft positioning and has been one of the rare, consistent bright spots of the last few seasons. It was an off night for No. 38 but we can forgive that and move along.
  • Good things continue to happen for the Blackhawks when Dylan Strome is on the ice, especially on the power play. The key thing to remember here is that Strome’s recent point splurge is not wholly atypical for his career: he had 51 points in 58 games with the Blackhawks in the season when he was first traded to Chicago. Strome has the ability to be this guy: a reliable top-six contributor who thrives on the power play. Yes, he needs to be more consistent. But, once again, the talent is there.
  • If nothing else, Chicago needs to move a few defensemen at the trade deadline to free up more ice time for Jakub Galvas who continues to look like a player who doesn’t need any more time in the AHL.
  • Just another ugly game in a season that will probably have more of them before it’s all over. Hope you’ve stocked up on booze.

Game Charts

(Jake McCabe ... yikes)

Three stars

  1. Oskar Sundqvist (STL) — 1 goal, 1 assist
  2. Brayden Schenn (STL) — 2 assists
  3. Ville Husso (STL) — 15 saves on 16 shots

What’s next

The Blackhawks finish this three-game road trip north of the border with a Valentine’s Day game on Monday night against the Winnipeg Jets at 8 p.m.