Game Report: Blackhawks 4, Blues 2

By Nicholas Hand

The Blues suffered their third consecutive loss Sunday night, falling to the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Blues spoiled a tremendous goaltending performance from Jake Allen who made 38 saves on 41 Chicago shots.

An Artem Anisimov goal broke a 2-2 deadlock with just 5:20 remaining in regulation for the game-winning goal.

The loss left the Blues four points behind Nashville in the battle for third place in the Central Division.

The Blackhawks got off to a strong start establishing a 2-0 lead with goals by Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane in the first period as the Blues were unable shake off the bye week rust, allowing 20 shots on goal in the opening 20 minutes.

Toews was able to get behind the Blues skaters off a faceoff in the Blackhawks zone and took a Nick Schmaltz pass in and beat Allen at 4:18.

Sloppy play with the puck contributed to Chicago’s two-goal lead on Kane’s 24th goal of the season at 11:44. Duncan Keith sent a past to Toews who flipped a pass to Kane who beat Allen with a quick wrist shot on the short-side of the net.

The Blues responded with Magnus Paajarvi’s fourth goal of the season at 16:54 of the first period. Paajarvi generated a turnover at the offensive blueline and skated the puck in on Chicago netminder Scott Darling before beating Darling with a five-hole shot to cut the deficit to 2-1.

The Blues evened the score at two at 12:33 of the second period on the power play with Alex Pietrangelo’s ninth goal of the season. Patrik Berglund started the Blues rush when he flipped the puck to David Perron along the boards crossing the offensive zone.

Perron found Pietrangelo streaking towards the middle of the slot as Pietrangelo snapped a wrist shot over Darling’s shoulder to even the score.

The game remained tied in the third period due to the netminding of both goaltenders. Darling made three saves on Paul Stastny point-blank opportunities in each period.

Allen made a key glove save on a Richard Panik breakaway with eight minutes left in the game to keep the score knotted at two.

Chicago finally broke through on Anisimov’s 22nd of the season when the Blues turned the puck over to Kane in the neutral zone. Artemi Panarin found Anisimov at the side of the net with a cross-ice pass allowing Anisimov to beat Allen over his arm.

The Blues had a late flurry of offensive pressure but were unable to find the equalizer. Tanner Kero added an empty net goal for the Blackhawks with three seconds left for the final two-goal margin.

Of Note: Blackhawks number one goaltender Corey Crawford couldn’t play due to an illness which forced Darling to start…The Blues line of Jaden Schwartz, Patrik Berglund, and David Perron struggled defensively against the Blackhawks high-powered forwards finishing with a combined minus-seven plus/minus rating… Robert Bortuzzo and Nail Yakupov were healthy scratches for the Blues.

Looking Ahead:
The Blues return home to Scottrade Center on Tuesday to host the Edmonton Oilers. It will be the last game before the NHL trading deadline on Wednesday.