The St. Louis Blues faced the Chicago Blackhawks for only the second time in the 2017-18 season. With almost everything on the line, the Blues only occasionally played like they knew it.
The St. Louis Blues had barely seen the Chicago Blackhawks at all this season. After only their second game of the season, the Blues might have seen enough of Chicago. It is too bad since the Blues will face Chicago two more times.
The Blues came out and it was the same old stuff where the Blues looked tired and their opponent did not. There were no excuses in this one though, because Chicago had played the night before, just like St. Louis.
The Blackhawks dominated the first period. The Blues looked flat-footed and did a lot of stick waving to try and defend.
That was countered with an on point Chicago team. They were flying around the rink and connecting on offensive passes that made them look more like their Cup winning teams than the current under .500 squad. Due to this and plenty of bad bounces, the Blackhawks found themselves on top by two after 20 minutes. Alex DeBrincat scored both of those goals and would end up with a hat trick.
Surprisingly, the Blues managed to answer in the second period. It should not be shocking that the Blues tied it, but how they tied it was. St. Louis scored on two consecutive power plays, which almost never happens. Nevertheless, it was good to see pucks flying at the net and traffic in front of the goaltender.
The third period was about as frustrating as it could be. There was about as much good and bad jammed into one frame as you can get.
Jake Allen looked foolish on two Chicago goals, but made some key saves against Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews late. The Blues just flung anything at goal and got a rebounder from Vladimir Sobotka and a seeing-eye shot from Alex Pietrangelo to tie it on both occasions.
Despite all that, it was an important point to earn with other results around the league not going the Blues way. The Blues threw all that to the side and claimed a second point for the second night in a row.
The first period.
The Blues were credited with eight shots, but all many of those were were pucks touching the goaltender. The Blues had almost no legitimate scoring chances in the first period.
Meanwhile, their defense limited the Blackhawks shots with some good blocks, but the number of shots that got through were still high quality. Chicago still managed to score two goals on 13 shots.
Overall, it was just the flow of the game. As mentioned, the Blues just lacked energy. We can say they played the night before and went to OT, but Chicago played too and had to travel from Buffalo.
There was just far too much time spent in the defensive zone.
The second period.
The Blues had an almost polar opposite period in the second frame. Clearly two goals are going to highlight everything. Just as important, the Blues just bore down on the game.
St. Louis outshot Chicago 14-10 in the second period, just funneling pucks to the net. They also did not waste time on their power plays.
The first one came on a deflection from a point shot. The Blues took the shot from distance and had traffic in front, which are both things they’ve been reluctant to do.
The second goal was just as nice. They didn’t spend a ton of time setting up pretty passes. They got it to the open man and Vince Dunn smashed it in.
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The end of the period was not that great, since St. Louis got a goal taken back and then one scored by Chicago with a second left, but at least we can shrug that off now.
No puck luck and iffy goaltending.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a huge defender of Allen. That said, there is just so little going right at the moment.
Things have been much worse this season, there is no doubt. However, it just seems like anything that can go in does go in.
Allen had two shots roll off his body or his pad and go in. I’m at a loss for what he could have done different, so it does not seem totally his fault. However, they just were not really shots that should have gone in, so in that sense it would be his fault.
Maybe he has the Jaro Halak pads that are just too firm to feel where anything is. It’s just disappointing to see him try so hard and have stuff get by anyway.
Thankfully, as pointed out in the intro, he made some key saves down the stretch. It just looks like this mental thing he’s got going on has no end in sight.
Sobotka, Dunn and Pietrangelo.
You want and sometimes expect your captain to be one of your best players. For much of the season Pietrangelo was and then he was anything but.
In this game, he was the Blues best player. He was blocking shots left and right (4), playing key minutes on the special teams and ended the night with four points. None were bigger than the game-tying goal.
Following in his footsteps, Dunn came up big on this night as well. He still needs to improve his defensive game, overall, but his four points were critical to this game as well. He is definitely earning his power play time now, where you could argue it was given to him earlier in the season.
Last, but definitely not least, Sobotka came up big for the Blues. He was more like his old, feisty self than we’ve seen and did a lot of intangible things. Scoring a goal was huge, since it tied the game at three at the time. He also threw four hits. In addition, Sobotka drew both penalties that led to power play goals.
My poor gray hairs.
I’ve been trying to stay calm in a vain attempt to stop the gray hairs from coming in. This game did nothing for it.
There was just so much emotion in this game. You thought the game was over after the first period. The Blues outplayed Chicago immensely but were still down by a goal after two because of some bad luck.
St. Louis would tie it. Chicago would go back ahead. The game looked over again and then St. Louis tied it and then won in overtime.
The pendulum swung so many times that the clock might be worn out. I know I am.
Still, any win, even if a token one, over Chicago is always satisfying. The Blues live for another day.