In Duncan Keith’s 1000th NHL game, the Chicago Blackhawks faced the St. Louis Blues again, just one week after an overtime win against them at the Enterprise Center.
The Hawks jumped into the first period with steady pressure. Newly moved to the fourth line, Brandon Saad was a noticeable presence and finally started to show up in key moments. This was, of course, after his otherwise lackluster start to the season that had led to his bottom six demotion.
Saad managed to draw a penalty which sent the Hawks into what seemed to be another mediocre power play. However, just as the power play expired, Saad took a strong shot at the goal that was ultimately picked up on the rebound and deposited by Artem Anisimov to open up the scoring.
This play would not have been possible without Saad’s efforts, which is exactly the kind of change we wanted to see following his movement. Coach Joel Quenneville had said earlier about Saad, “I still think there’s some production there… we’re looking for the finished product.”
Shortly after, Kane got another goal unassisted in a patient, yet calculated play. While Jonathan Toews created commotion right in front of the net, Kane used the distraction and brought the puck around until he could find a clean lane. This was a very smart move, a veteran type of thinking that’s fun to watch from elite players like Kane.
The Hawks returned to the second period riding the momentum of the first. Dominating the Blues with significantly more puck possession and more than double the amount of shots, the Hawks had some very good chances from every single line but were repeatedly stopped by Blues goaltender, Jake Allen.
Despite the Hawks’ strong play, the Blues managed to get a goal on a delayed penalty. It’s unfortunate because the Hawks played really well for the majority of the period, but were just unable to capitalize.
Beginning the third period on the penalty kill, the dynamic of the game went downhill quickly. David Perron got back-to-back power-play goals, giving the Blues the lead at 3-2. Both goals were the result of unnecessary penalties that could have been avoided.
Late in the third, Keith intercepted a Blues pass, setting up the play so that Toews could hand off the puck to Alex DeBrincat, who buried it for the game-tying goal. In a day dedicated to Keith’s contributions as a Blackhawk, it was only fitting that he made a key play and registered a point.
For the fifth consecutive game, the Blackhawks headed into overtime. They are actually the first team in NHL history to begin a season with five overtime games. It was an intense five minutes, time ran down until the very end, but DeBrincat won it with a tap-in goal.
While we got a glimpse of the potential the Hawks have, there is still room for improvement that can eventually result in a regulation win. The main weakness in this game was the string of unnecessary penalties, which gave the Blues scoring chances that they wouldn’t have had otherwise. Besides that, the offense was phenomenal today, only stopped by the Blues’ goaltending.
But, recognizing the frustration with continuous overtime games, DeBrincat said to the media, “We’re coming out, playing well and getting two-goal leads, but they seem to disappear so we’ve got to do something about that.”
While overtime points are better than no points, the Hawks need to try to get a clean, regulation win soon.
The Blackhawks have four days off before hosting the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday evening, which is also scheduled as Corey Crawford’s long-awaited return.
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