Jake Allen and the Blues Shutout Chicago

United Center- Chicago, IL

Jake Allen stops an attempt by Kirby Dach (77) with Jay Bouwmeester (19) defending. (Bill Smith/NHL via Getty Images)

St. Louis, 17-5-6 1st place in Central Division @ Chicago, 10-11-5, 7th place in Central Division

St. Louis makes the short trip to Chicago on a roll, continuing to rack up wins and points despite all the injuries. Perhaps lacking a little bit in star power, the Blues have more than made up for it with a team game and a hard checking, relentless defensive system to go along with great goaltending.

Ivan Barbashev has been the latest Blue to step up, with points in his last three games. Justin Faulk and Nathan Walker broke through Saturday with their first goals wearing the Blue Note. It took Faulk quite a bit longer than Walker (28 games to 2), but the hope is now that Faulk has that first one out of the way, he’ll display some of the offensive firepower he showed in Carolina that made him an all-star.

The Blues have won 3 straight against stiff competition, the Lightning, Stars, and Penguins. The Blackhawks, on the other hand, are mired in last place in the Central and were blown out by Colorado in a home and home series on Friday and Saturday.

One of the best rivalries in the NHL continues tonight in Chicago as the Blues, and the Blackhawks take the ice.

1st Period

It didn’t take long for the Blues to get on the board, with a little help from the boards. Vince Dunn threw the puck into the Blackhawks’ zone from the red line hard off the boards. The puck bounced right to the middle of the ice in front of Hawks’ goalie Corey Crawford and onto the waiting stick of MacKenzie MacEachern. MacEachern lifted a backhand over Crawford’s glove side to make it 1-0 Blues.

Shortly after the Blues took the lead, Chicago had their first power play of the night when Brayden Schenn went off for tripping Brandon Saad. The biggest threat on the power play came from the Blues when Tyler Bozak broke into the Hawks’ zone on a shorthanded breakaway. Bozak was in the clear but fired the puck high over Crawford and the net. Chicago did not have a shot on the power play.

It took Chicago 8 and a half minutes before they got their first shot on goal, but when they did, they started to pick it up a notch and get in the game. But whatever momentum they began to gain was lost when Patrick Kane went to the box for a trip, giving St. Louis their first power play.

Fifteen seconds into the man advantage, Jaden Schwartz was staked out in front and deflected Alex Pietrangelo‘s shot past Crawford, and it was 2-0 Blues. David Perron had an assist on the play as well to extend his point streak to 8 games.

The shots were tied at ten at the end of the period, but it didn’t seem like Jake Allen was tested. The Blackhawks sent some shots toward Allen, including a Jonathan Toews wraparound attempt, but did not have extended offensive zone time.

2nd period

The 2nd period started with a Nathan Walker slash. It was a questionable call, but Chicago would have their 2nd power play nonetheless. Once again, the Blues’ penalty kill was strong, and the Blackhawks weren’t able to get much traction in the offensive zone.

The Hawks did, however, control play for the most part in the period, especially in the first 7-8 minutes. They outshot the Blues 11-9 and had the better of the chances, including a shot from Alex DeBrincat that went off the right post.

The Blues’ best chance came when Ryan O’Reilly had the puck and some space right in front of Corey Crawford, but he had the puck poked away as he tried to settle it down for a shot.

A mostly uneventful period ended the way the 1st did, with the Blues leading 2-0.

Troy Brouwer (36) camps out in front of Cory Crawford (50) in Monday night’s game. (Bill Smith/NHL via Getty Images)

3rd period

The Blues opened the 3rd period with 2 minutes of offensive zone time and nearly made it 3-0 when a Colton Parayko shot went under Crawford and off the post.

Although the Blues were the better team, Chicago was only two goals down and applied some pressure on Allen. Kirby Dach broke in alone 3 minutes into the period, but his shot went wide. Moments later, Brandon Saad split the Blues’ D, but Allen was there, shutting the five hole just in time. Allen was strong in net and looked calm and in control all night.

At 8:56 of the period St. Louis pretty much put the game on ice. Brayden Schenn sent a slapper over Crawford high stick side on a good set up from Nathan Walker. It was Walker’s 2nd point in 3 games since being called up from San Antonio. Jaden Schwartz had the secondary assist on the play.

Chicago had a flurry of 4 or 5 shots on Allen in the last few minutes, including a post, but the Blues’ goalie was exceptional, stopping all 38 shots the Hawks sent his way.

Tyler Bozak scored with 1:50 left when Chicago defenseman Olli Maatta sent an ill-advised pass up through the center of the ice from deep in his zone. Bozak picked it off and sent it high over Crawford’s blocker to make it 4-0.

Summary and Notes

St. Louis won their 4th game in a row and sent Chicago to their 6th loss in their last seven games. Although the Blackhawks outshot the Blues 38-30, the Blues were in control for most of the game.

Robert Bortuzzo made his return to the ice after serving his four-game suspension for cross-checking Nashville’s Viktor Arvidsson. As a result of Bortuzzo’s return, Derrick Pouliot was sent back to San Antonio.

Patrick Kane saw his 15 game point streak come to an end with Jake Allen’s 20th career shutout. Jake is now tied with Jaroslav Halak for 2nd place in shutouts as a Blues goaltender. Brian Elliott leads the way with 25. Allen also moves closer to the all-time win leader with his 141st victory as a Blue, just 10 behind Mike Liut.

With Jake Allen back in form and Binnington picking up where he left off last year, the Blues may just have the hottest goaltending tandem in the league.

Next up for the Blues is a trip to Pittsburgh Wednesday night where they’ll take on the Penguins for the 2nd time in 3 games.

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