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No Cars Go: Canadiens 4, Blackhawks 0

Sincerely hope you turned this game off and hung out with your Valentine instead.

Chicago Blackhawks v Montreal Canadiens
Jesse Ylonen of the Montreal Canadiens and Taylor Raddysh of the Chicago Blackhawks skate against each other in NHL action.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

The Chicago Blackhawks fell in their fifth straight game (fourth since returning from the All-Star Break) on Tuesday, losing 4-0 on Valentine’s Day to the Montreal Canadiens.

The Blackhawks are now 16-31-5 on the season.

The game started in a wild manner from the Blackhawks’ perspective, as Josh Anderson decided to fight Connor Murphy (with neither side outright winning) after a completely clean hit from Murphy on Montreal captain Nick Suzuki. The two would head to the box, although Murphy was assessed just a five-minute major for fighting while Anderson was awarded 17 total penalty minutes.

Montreal started the scoring early in the first period as Andreas Athanasiou sat in the box for a too-many-men penalty (the Canadiens killed off their own Anderson penalty earlier in the period without much trouble). Justin Barron got dual screens for his second goal of the season.

I’ll don my advertising voice for a second here:

Are you a team in need of help winning games?
Do you want a defenseman, who’s only on the power play because another young defenseman got hurt, to score his first-ever man-advantage goal?
Well, then come on down to face the Blackhawks!

Because that’s exactly what the Barron goal was.

And there’s nothing that Jaxson Stauber, in net for his fourth-ever NHL game after going 3-0 in his first three, could do about it. How are you supposed to see the puck when you have not one but two screens in front of you on the power-play? Just atrocious defense on the penalty kill (although here, atrocious defense is a good thing).

The rest of the first period and the second period passed by very quietly, aside from multiple penalties (four from the Montreal side, just one, a high-sticking call against Philipp Kurashev, on the Blackhawks).

These two teams are bad. It doesn’t help matters that the Canadiens are beyond hurt, but neither side looks fully competent and both look like they could get steamrolled like 7-1 by a team like Toronto (shade fully meant, les Quebecois).

The Canadiens just devoured the Blackhawks in the third period, with Joel Armia capitalizing on a great passing play in the Blackhawks’ defensive zone to make it a 2-0 game:

Armia got the puck literally right in front of Stauber and just shoveled a shot past the young netminder. Five minutes later, David Savard caught a pass near the faceoff dot, and for the first time in the game, Stauber could actually be blamed for a goal:

A snipe from a defensive defenseman? You kind of have to have that.

Christian Dvorak then, less than a minute after Savard’s goal, said, “Let’s just bury them,” and shot a puck past Stauber’s shoulder after a play around the net by Armia.

Dvorak was left all alone in the crease, while nobody followed Armia behind the net, which would have been a good thing, except for, ya know, the whole open-passing-lane thing.

That was the final score, as the Canadiens beat the Blackhawks 4-0, leaving the Blackhawks the color of one of the bad chocolates in the assorted heart-shaped boxes.


  • The ol’ reverse jinx. I just had to mention that neither Canadiens goaltender had completed a shutout this season in the preview. Then the objectively lesser of the Canadiens’ goaltenders, Jake Allen, just had to prove me wrong.
  • But seriously, this game was ugly from the Blackhawks. Just 22 shots on goal, despite nearly six minutes of power-play time, and the Blackhawks generated just 1.9 expected goals versus Montreal, forcing Allen to make just two high-danger saves throughout the game. Big yikes.
  • Jaxson Stauber’s out here trying, at least, which is more than can be said for some Blackhawks goaltenders. Stauber faced 3.15 expected goals and 12 high-danger shots, stopping 11 of them. For his first NHL loss, he’s not even close to being the guy most at fault.
  • Luke Richardson, in his return to Montreal, experimented with eight lines throughout the night, and just three of them were over a 20 percent expected goal share, and none of those lines included Kurashev, Max Domi or Taylor Raddysh. who all were buried in expected goal share in this game.
  • I did a double take: the Blackhawks’ best skater, at least in terms of quality, was apparently Jarred Tinordi, playing in just his second game since his return to the Blackhawks’ lineup, although Tinordi also played just 3:03 at 5-on-5, which may be why he had the best night.

Here’s a postgame update from Richardson on all the injuries sustained during the game:

  • Just an ugly one.

Game Charts

Three stars

  1. Jonathan Drouin (MTL) — 3 A
  2. Joel Armia (MTL) — 1 G, 1 A
  3. Christian Dvorak (MTL) — 1 G, 1 A

What’s next

The Blackhawks head to Toronto for a game against the Maple Leafs at 6 p.m. on Wednesday night. For those of you who want to watch something actually entertaining, AEW Dynamite airs at 7 p.m. on TBS.