Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Blackhawks blitz listless Blues 4-1

Three third-period goals enable Chicago to seize control of tie game

CHICAGO -- The game was there for the taking, but when it comes to this building, the Blues just never seem to come up with the right answers.

An inept power play, which went 0-for-6, cost the Blues in a big way, and despite a tie game with 20 minutes remaining unraveled in the third period.

The Chicago Blackhawks scored three times in a 4:20 span, with Patrick Kane scoring twice to lead the Blackhawks to a 4-1 victory against the Blues Wednesday at United Center.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues defenseman Ian Cole (left) and goalie Jake Allen (right) defend a
shot with Chicago's Joakim Nordstrom looking to tip a puck in front.
The Blues were hit with one of those Blackhawks blitzes with the game on the line, and they came undone quickly.

The Blues -- who got 41 shots but not many on the interior off Antti Raanta -- lost puck battles, they had no direction on a power play that gave them an opportunity to seize control of the game that never materialized.

"Power play lost us the game, plain and simple," forward Alexander Steen said. "The power play lost us the game early and then the third period, they dialed it up and they got one right at the end of one and that was the difference in the game."

And in the end, Chicago (16-8-1) pulled within a point of the Blues (16-7-2) and Nashville, who both gave 34 points and face off Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena.

"The game's 1-1. You're in perfect position on the road," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who confirmed Martin Brodeur will make his Blues debut against the Predators. "We just gave it to them. We made some checking mistakes ... we just gave them the hockey game. Bottom line.

"We put ourselves at 1-1 in a great spot where you want to be on the road."

Jake Allen stopped 29 shots but was not given much help in the third period.

"It's 1-1 on the road against a great opponent, a good spot to be," Allen said. "They took it to us about the first five, seven minutes. It made a difference."

The Blues had the better of the opportunities in the first 10 minutes of the first period but came away with nothing after Ian Cole and Alex Pietrangelo both rang pucks off the bar.

And a lost puck by Cole resulted in the opening goal by Marcus Kruger, after Saad stripped Cole of the puck, then took off with Kruger on a 2-on-1. Kruger kept the puck and snapped a shot past Allen's stick with 4 minutes, 3 seconds left in the opening period for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead.

Cole was able to make up for his mistake by getting the equalizer.

With the Blues having a skater on for a delayed penalty, Patrik Berglund was able to slide a short pass to Cole at the right post and he beat Raanta with 7:22 remaining in the second to make it a 1-1 game.

Chicago scored 59 seconds into the third on a goal by Kris Versteeg, who had a goal and two assists, to grab a 2-1 lead. Kane would score at 2:47 and again at 5:19 to salt the game away.

"We didn't get the penalty killing done," Hitchcock said of Versteeg's goal. "It was an even-strength goal; we didn't get it done. We did a poor job checking down low. We did a poor job in slot coverage. We can't give that away. 
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues defenseman Carl Gunnarsson (left) gets tangled up with Chicago's 
Marcus Kruger in the Blackhawks' 4-1 victory against the Blues.

"We turned a 3-on-3 into a 3-on-2 and it's 3-1, game over. We just gave them the hockey game. That's what we did."

But Blues came undone and there was no stopping the Blackhawks.

"You can't let a skill team like that get those chances," Allen said. "It was only a five-minute span, but they took advantage of it. ... You can't let a team like that with offensive threats get their chances.

"We took our foot off the gas. It's a lesson learned."

No comments:

Post a Comment