Blackhawks End Losing Skid With 1-0 Win Over Blues

After a season-long 7 game homestand, I had to ask, “Who is the team in the white sweaters?” when the Blues took the ice. It’s not been a look that we are accustomed to many times this season.

The game was covered by NBC. That too is something to which I am not accustomed. Nor am I in favor of, by the way. I like our announcers best and I miss it when we don’t get to hear them call the game.

The Game

I could write about all the chances the Blues had and how they outshot the Blackhawks 28-19 in the game. But, what would be the point? The main statistic is the final score. Chicago won, 1-0.

At the 3:30 mark of the 2nd period Vladimir Tarasenko was back-checking Nick Schmaltz and got his stick hooked under his armpit. He couldn’t get it loose and was whistled for hooking.

Chicago capitalized on the power play. Here’s how the game’s only goal unfolded.

The puck was along the right half-boards. Patrick Kane dug it out and gained possession. He passed it to Jonathan Toews, who was down along the goal line right of the net. Toews passed to Brent Seabrook in the slot over a sliding Jay Bouwmeester. Seabrook’s shot was stopped by Jake Allen‘s left pad and then fell into the crease next to Bouwmeester’s skate. Jake saw the puck and tried to extend his left leg to kick it out of the crease, but he couldn’t reach the puck. Bouwmeester didn’t see the puck and as he climbed to his feet, he kicked the puck in with his skate.

The play was indicative of the Blues’ season to this point. They aren’t catching many breaks and Bouwmeester seems to be at the end of the bad breaks frequently. Below, I have laid out some screenshots of the play to help illustrate some of the details and how it unfolded.

The setup

In the screenshot above you can see Toews with the puck near the goal line. Edmundson is approaching him from the faceoff dot. Bouwmeester is down in front of the net trying to prevent the pass from crossing in front.

The shot

In this photo, the puck has crossed to Seabrook in the left faceoff circle. Bouwmeester is sliding into the crease toward Allen. Steen is reaching towards Seabrook attempting to block the shot with his stick. Edmundson has stopped moving and is watching the puck. Barbashev is trailing the play and is not making an effort to get to Schmaltz (#8).

The rebound

Blackhawks have collapsed around the net, awaiting the rebound. Jake has already spotted the puck laying in the crease and is trying to kick it out with his left leg.
Here is a better angle showing the puck next to Bouwmeester’s skate. Jake sees the puck. J-Bo doesn’t. To me, Jake’s positioning is still good. He’s against his post.

Who’s Fault Was It?

Those who know more about hockey may say that he (J-Bo) was out of position on that play. I don’t pretend to know. Some may say that Jake was out of position on the play. It didn’t look like it to me. He slid to his right and stopped the shot by Seabrook. He was upright, in control after the shot. When he saw the puck laying there, he tried to kick his leg out but couldn’t reach it and then fell to this right, outside the crease.

I believe the puck would have been poked in by Chicago even if Bouwmeester hadn’t kicked it. As I watch the replay in slow motion, here are the other problems I saw with the play. Joel Edmundson was late giving support along the half boards to Ivan Barbashev and then was out of position and couldn’t put pressure on Toews down along the goal line. When the shot was taken and the rebound was laying on the ice, Edmundson still had not made contact with Toews, so he was there and could have put the puck in the net.

Barbashev didn’t get in a position to keep Schmaltz out of the play and as the puck lay in the crease, Schmaltz charged in and could have poked it in. Alexander Steen was also on the ice. He was chasing the puck, but I don’t see anything else he could have done to prevent the goal.

My analysis is that it was a poor shift by the Blues penalty kill and a masterful execution by the Blackhawks power play unit.

Corey Crawford got the shutout, stopping all 28 shots by the Blues. Jake Allen stopped 18 of 19 Chicago shots.

My Thoughts

  • Other than what I shared above, it just didn’t seem to me like an ‘energetic’ effort. Chicago seemed to be a little bit more energized than the Blues.
  • I thought Colton Parayko and Alex Pietrangelo were a lot more aggressive than we’ve seen so far this year. Parayko hit a couple of posts.
  • Petro made a great defensive play late in the game to stop a 2 on 1 break by the Hawks.
  • Robert Thomas looked like he had the puck on a string tonight and was making some dandy plays.
  • Tarasenko lost a tooth when he was hit in the mouth with a stick. No penalty was called.
  • Tarasenko was diving to break up a breakaway late in the game with the goalie pulled and he stood in front of the net and blocked a shot on that same sequence. He’s literally leaving himself on the ice for this team.
  • Fans aren’t happy. Understandably so. The road trip continues with games at Vegas this Friday and San Jose on Saturday. Both are late games, starting at 9 and 9:30 Central time respectively.
  • Let’s Go Blues!

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