Thursday, October 19, 2017

Blackhawks at St. Louis
5-2 Loss Recap

"Suckin' it up in St. Louis"
by Ryan Leidig

Tonight was the first time we saw the St. Louis Blues this season, and it was terrible. The Blues were trying to be the bash brothers. The Blackhawks took six penalties, five of them for tripping. The penalty kill once again proved to be outstanding, though, going six for six. The powerplay had 7 chances, most of these looked awful but ended up scoring on the last two. Veteran defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook were put together and ended up -4, but the Blackhawks pair of questionables, Connor Murphy and Michal Kempny, were even. All forwards except for Patrick Kane, Nick Schmaltz and Richard Panik had a negative +/-. Corey Crawford had some really strong saves but also let in some terribly out of position goals. There were a lot of ups and downs but in the end, this is probably a game we all want to forget.

The first period saw the ‘Hawks get outplayed in shots, hits, and penalties. The Blackhawks started their penalty killing early on, when 1:14 into the game Patrick Sharp earned a blatant tripping call against Vince Dunn. The Blues onslaught began shortly after, at 4:46 of the first period when Jaden Schwartz scored his first goal of the night. As Vladimir Tarasenko held the puck along the boards he then shot the puck from the point. Corey Crawford was at the top of the crease when Schwartz grabbed the puck and slid around to put it into the open net. Play did not continue right away, as there was talk that there may have been goalie interference. Schwartz slightly hit Crawfords' stick hand, but he was outside of the crease so the goal stood. The Blackhawks got their first power play at 11:14 for goalie interference. Sammy Blais of the Blues drove to the net, around the outside of Jan Rutta, running directly into Crawford and dislodging the goal. Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels came in to show some force but nothing became of the scrum. One play of note was Robert Bortuzzo hitting Patrick Kane hard into the boards. While Kane stayed in the game, he left the shift holding his shoulder. There was a very scary incident shortly after, as Jaden Schwartz was sent flying into the boards head first. At first, it looked as if he was tied up with Richard Panik but after other angles were shown Schwartz clearly just lost his balance. He left the ice for the remainder of the period, was checked out, and returned later to the game. After a T.V. timeout, fans came back to the smiling face of Eddie Olczyk. During the timeout St. Louis played a short video for Olczyk's return to the booth. The ‘Hawks were later called for their third penalty of the period with an Artem Anisimov tripping penalty. With 32 seconds left in the first period, while on the power play, Jonathan Toews was called for tripping, which gave the Blues a five on three power play for the final 32 seconds. The Blackhawks ended the period getting out shot 9-4.

After returning to the game in the second period, Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal of the game at the 5:59 mark. Following the goal, the ‘Hawks were able to manage a couple shots and put some pressure on. After a long change, Blues goaltender Jake Allen sent a pass off the boards to a streaking Schwartz. Crawford came out of his crease to challenge with a poke check but hesitated and gave Schwartz an easy goal on the wide open net. Vladimir Tarasenko was next to get on the scoresheet at 7:49 in the second period, shortly after the Schwartz goal. Artem Anisimov skated through the circle to the left of Corey Crawford after taking a pass from Brent Seabrook, and Tarasenko tapped Anisimov's stick, knocking the puck loose. Tarasenko then turned around and fired a quick wrist shot past Crawford's blocker. Chicago then got their second power play chance of the game when Ryan Hartman drew a slashing call from Paul Statsny. Once again, nothing would come of the powerplay, even though there was some good pressure. Gustav Forsling was the next in line to visit the penalty box as he took a penalty on Vladimir Tarasenko. The Blues finished the period back on the powerplay again, after a Duncan Keith tripping penalty. The second period ended even worse than the first, with the shot total 17-4 in favor of St. Louis.

The final period saw the ‘Hawks on the power play five times! The first Blues penalty was a Magnus Paajarvi holding call on Patrick Kane, at 1:44. The power play once again looked awful, producing nothing special and looking extremely lethargic. Kyle Brodziak scored seven minutes into the period on a 2-on-1 opportunity, to put St. Louis up 4-0. Jan Rutta tried to pinch in and keep possession, but Brodziak snuck in behind and headed down the ice with Tarasenko breaking down the slot against Gustav Forsling. Forsling looked a little confused on whether to take Brodziak or Tarasenko, and Brodziak looked the defender off with the threat of the pass, lauching a wrister past Crawford's glove hand. The next Blues penalty came as Brandon Saad was entering into the Blues' zone and Joel Edmundson got called for tripping. Alex DeBrincat had a good power play opportunity, after stealing the puck from Colton Parayko.
He took a solid wrist shot that beat Jake Allen, but rang off the crossbar.

The next little sequence turned the ‘Hawks way, but saw them miss two prime opportunities. During one opportunity, Colton Parayko broke his stick, giving the Blackhawks an opening. Patrick Kane set up Connor Murphy, who's shot that hit the post again and started a crowd in front of the net. Later Patrick Sharp the puck and sent the puck across the crease to Kane, who would attempt to stuff the puck but was stonewalled by Jake Allen. As they were going to commercial break, one camera shot showed someone drop to the ice from the ‘Hawks. There was no true explanation (on NBC Chicago live feed) but a double minor for high sticking was called on Vladimir Sabotka, and was served by Ivan Barbashev. There were also two roughing penalties handed out on the play. One to Lance Bouma and one to Vladimir Sobotka. It looked as though, Bouma was high sticked and then had a get together with Sobotka. The ‘Hawks actually capitalized on both minor penalties. The first goal came from Richard Panik. Duncan Keith took a long hard shot from the point, that Panik got his stick on and redirected past Jake Allen for their first goal. Shortly after, Joel Quenneville pulled Crawford with over four minutes remaining in the game. With the goalie pulled Ryan Hartman grabbed a puck thrown around the boards and get two quick shot attempts. Hartman was pushed into the goal crease but the Blues defense and the puck found its way to Alex DeBrincat, who took the shot. Originally was thought that Alex DeBrincat scored the goal, but was credited to Ryan Hartman. There was so much traffic in front of the net that it was really hard to tell. As the Blackhawks continued to try to crawl back into this game, they seemed to block shot after shot on the empty net. Finally, though, at 19:08 Schwartz finished the hat-trick and put the final nail in the coffin.

The Good
  • The PK is looking great! They went 6 for 6 tonight.
  • Faceoff percentage for the Blackhawks was 57%
The Bad
  • Seabrook and Keith together were both -4
  • Outshot 33-24 doesn't sound as bad but the first two periods were 8-26
  • By no means terrible, but we saw Crawford come down to earth a bit
The Ugly
  • 5 tripping penalties is not acceptable


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