St. Louis Blues: Pros And Cons From Game 81 Against Chicago

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: The St. Louis Blues celebrate after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period at the United Center on April 6, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 06: The St. Louis Blues celebrate after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks in the third period at the United Center on April 6, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The St. Louis Blues entered their final game against Chicago knowing they did not have to win. Despite that, they came to play, which sets everything up for the final night of the season.

Knowing the St. Louis Blues knew their final game in Chicago was essentially meaningless made for some nervous moments as fans. Nobody knew what to expect.

You could see the Blues come out and play loose and free. You could also see them look like they could not care less. They never looked like they could care less, but it was still about 80/20 in favor of playing loose and free. The other 20 was just the normal Blues mental mistakes that we have come to expect.

Nevertheless, the Blues managed to get the all important first goal. Patrik Berglund positioned himself in the slot and tipped in a shot from the point for the opener, a little under two minutes from the first break.

The second period was particularly nerve-wracking as the Blues could not score an insurance goal. You just felt as though the longer the game stayed close, the more likely it was the Blackhawks would find that goal to tie it.

That tying goal came at 8:08 of the third period. However, Chicago’s joy did not last long as Berglund scored 16 seconds later and the Blues never looked back.

Jaden Schwartz scored about four minutes later to cushion the lead. Then, Berglund scored in an empty net to give himself a hat trick. It was only Berglund’s second career hat trick.

The win now eases the pressure on them in Colorado. They still need to win, just for themselves, but a point will do for the standings.


The Blues’ second period.

There was not anything awful about the Blues in the middle frame. They did create a good chance around seven minutes into the period.

However, overall, it just was not a great period in a game that was hanging in the balance. You would like to see the Blues have a little more push in the second period since they were only up by a goal.

Instead, the Blues had their lowest shot total in the second with only nine shots on goal. They also allowed more shots in the second than the previous period, giving the Blackhawks some life.

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The Blues fudged up a two-on-one with their two best players, Brayden Schenn and Vladimir Tarasenko. St. Louis also required a couple timely saves from Carter Hutton in this period.


Patrik Berglund.

Berglund has had a rough season this year. He only played 56 games to this point due to another shoulder injury prior to the season.

So, all the momentum he had gained last season was lost. It took him quite some time to regain any form. In typical Berglund fashion, that good form was very hit or miss.

His problem was not so much a lack of scoring, but a lack of impact on the game. He would not only not score, but be just a body out there.

He was much more than that in this one. The first one, as described, was a great tip from distance. He was about 10 feet from goal and still managed to direct it in.

The second goal was even better.

Like the first goal, Berglund was right where he needed to be. He timed his rush to the net well and was in perfect position to collect the rebound. He also showed good hand-eye coordination to knock it out of mid-air.

You could tell by his reaction and by the “shot” that Berglund had no intention of scoring the way he did. Still, it gave him a hatty and that is his second in two seasons.


St. Louis let Chicago hang around too long.

On the one hand, you can’t fault the team’s offense too much. They got a decent amount of shots.

However, their mistakes almost cost them a few times in the beginning of the game when it was scoreless. Then, in the third period, the Blues allowed Chicago to build too much momentum.

While the Blackhawks only ended up with eight shots in the period, you could feel it coming since St. Louis could not get their insurance goal.

It was the kind of goal that has deflated this team in the past too. While Hutton had a solid game overall, that was a stoppable shot. It just snuck in under his blocker and inside the near post. Given the team’s problems in net through the season, it would not have been shocking for that goal to set the negativity in motion.


Hutton gave the team a boost when they needed it.

Hutton was not unbelievable in this game. He did not stand on his head, but the Blues did not need him too.

The defense limited the chances, overall, and kept Chicago to only 20 shots overall. It was the timliness of everything though.

Hutton made a mistake when handling the puck, but made up for it by getting back quickly and stopping one of Chicago’s best scorers.

He also kept the team in the lead. When the Blues had scored to take the lead, Chicago pressed and created, but Hutton managed to make the saves he needed to and the Blues kept ahead.

There are going to be plenty that say he should start the next game. We could spend an entire article discussing that, but for this game, Hutton gave the team what they needed.

Overall Thoughts:

The Blues set themselves up nicely.

St. Louis needed this kind of performance right before the big game on Saturday. They did not have to win, but they kind of did.

As far as the standings went, the Blues could have lost and still made up for it tomorrow. That’s not how this team works though. It would be hard to expect them to win in Colorado if they had lost four straight in regulation and five overall.

Instead, the Blues got a much needed win that restores some confidence. They also gave themselves some wiggle room.

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The Blues now only need a point. They can lose in Colorado as long as they get the contest to overtime. Clearly, you would like to just win the game and give yourself something to build on into the playoffs. However, they have given themselves some room for error with a big win in Chicago.

Tomorrow will take care of itself and we will either be happy or distraught. For tonight, we can be happy with the win. And since the Blackhawks were so mouthy about ruining the Blues season, we can be happy we ruined Patrick Sharp’s final game in Chicago.