Despite a solid effort in the first period, the Blackhawks crumbled in the final 40 minutes Sunday afternoon at the United Center, and the Blues won 4-0 easily.
Chicago closed out February with a 3-5-1 record overall and 1-5-1 record at home.
The first period was scoreless, but there was a decent amount of action. The Blackhawks led in all shot metrics — shot attempts (19-13), shots on goal (12-7), scoring chances (11-6), and high danger scoring chances (5-4) — but they also had twice as many giveaways (8-4) as the Blues. The latter trend was foreshadowing of what was to come for the rest of the game.
The second period opened with the Blues scoring just after their power play expired. After a bad turnover by the Blackhawks at the blue line, a beautiful passing play between Brayden Schenn and Jordan Kyrou ended with an easy tap-in for Kyrou to make it 1-0 Blues at 2:26.
The Blues made it 2-0 about four minutes later as Robert Thomas fed Pavel Buchnevich in the slot for a wrister that beat Marc-André Fleury high. The Blackhawks won the faceoff, but Connor Murphy and Caleb Jones failed to gain possession during a puck battle behind the net.
The Blues continued to dominate in the second and tacked on one more goal before the period ended. On the power play, the Blues had yet another incredible passing sequence that ended with a bullet from David Perron, putting the Blues up 3-0 with 1:52 left in the period.
The team in front to Fleury in the second period:
The Blues added another goal in the opening minutes of the third period. The Blackhawks won the faceoff again but immediately lost possession, and Perron scored his second of the game and extended the Blues lead to 4-0 with 16:56 left in the game, leaving us counting down until this one ended.
Luckily, the Blues went on cruise for the rest of the game, and the Blackhawks fall 4-0 to the Blues.
Another Blackhawks game that belongs in the trash.
- It was another good start for the Blackhawks — which is great to see considering first periods have been such a problem for most of the season — but, like in the Panthers game, much of that was due to the Blues going through the motions and the latter periods were really dominated by them. The Blackhawks either have late starts doom them or they falter down the stretch.
- Even with four goals scored against him, it’s hard to fault Fleury for much, considering what was going on in front of him most of the afternoon. Seriously, just in the second period, the Blues had 12 scoring chances and seven high-danger chances on net, and the score could have been doubled if not for Fleury. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was Fleury post game to all his Blackhawks teammates:
- Murphy and C. Jones had a very rough game. That’s uncommon for Murphy, but it’s bound to happen every once in a while. C. Jones, on the other hand, has been underwhelming-to-bad a majority of the season. He’ll have the occasional strong game when highly sheltered or when playing lower minutes but is that really enough to be given a lineup spot so consistently? The Blackhawks must believe that Rockford is just a better place for the likes of Mitchell, Kalynuk, Galvas and others because it doesn’t make sense why C. Jones is getting more rotation in the NHL than them at this point.
- The fact that King said post-game that the C. Jones and Murphy pairing had been “playing real good hockey” before tonight just makes me happy he is an interim coach only.
- The Blackhawks special teams were especially messy in this game. Yes, the Blues have a top-five power play and penalty kill, but it’s embarrassing to have only two shots on goal — neither dangerous — on three power plays.
- The offense for Chicago had been trending up slightly lately — with some wild outbursts like their 8-5 win against the New Jersey Devils on Friday — but this was the sixth time the they were shutout this season. And depth is absolutely the issue: all opposing teams have to do is shut down three to four players on the Blackhawks for them to be out of it. Blues coach Craig Berube even mentioned it specifically pregame:
Blues coach Craig Berube on beating the Blackhawks 5-1 last time:— Phillip Thompson (@_phil_thompson) February 27, 2022
"Well, they had a good performance (vs. the Devils), 3 power play goals. ... If we leave Kane and DeBrincat, Hagel and these guys – Seth Jones – time and space, they’re going to make you pay."
- Speaking of good players, though, Seth Jones was the only Blackhawks defensemen that seemed to have a positive game, all things considered. He did have two giveaways, but he managed to regain possession after one and helped break-up a play after the other. S. Jones was also the only one that seemed to be able to slow the Blues down at the blue line with any level of success.
- Isaak Phillips had an okay game in his fourth NHL appearance, but he was pretty sheltered in his 16:22. Still, the 20-year-old showed some promise with his general poise for much of the game and ended with two shots, two hits, and a takeaway and block.
- That’s about all the positives I could come up with for this game. I don’t expect this Blackhawks’ team to win against teams in the top-half of the league regularly, but it’d be nice if they could at least seem competitive. It’s not fun for anyone.
"I hope it's getting through our heads here. It sucks losing like this, at home the way we're losing. It's not fun for us, for the fans, for anybody."— John Dietz (@johndietzdh) February 27, 2022
- Seth Jones on if takes a while for young teams to learn the importance of turnovers and careless play at this level
- David Perron (STL) — 2 goals
- Jordan Binnington (STL) — 30 saves on 30 shots
- Brayden Schenn (STL) — 2 assists
The Blackhawks face the Edmonton Oilers on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at the United Center.