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Enhanced Box Score: Blues 1, Blackhawks 0 — October 30, 2021

Chicago Blackhawks

These post-gamers were starting to feel like a lot of copy and paste with the Blackhawks putting on the same song and dance for most of their eight-game skid to open the season. Tonight was different. Despite playing on the road against a high-powered Blues scoring attack, the Blackhawks looked more like a competent NHL team tonight than they have at any point in the first three weeks of the season.

Marc-André Fleury was sensational tongiht. It’s no secret that his 5.75 GAA through his first four starts of the season was as much (if not more) on the defense in front of him as it was on him. Even so, Fleury has to be better than he has if the Blackhawks want to win some games. Thankfully, Fleury was excellent tonight against a high-powered St. Louis Blues’ offense.

Fleury made 14 saves in period one as the Blues offense out-shot the Blackhawks 14-4 in the opening period but somehow managed to escape the period even at zero, largely thanks to the veteran netminder Fleury’s best period of hockey in a Chicago sweater.

Fleury was even better in the second period when he saved 15 more shots to keep St. Louis off the board in the middle frame, and the Blackhawks entered the third period even at zero with the Blue, thanks to Fleury’s top-notch night to that point. The Flower made a pair of excellent saves in the waning seconds of period two, an exclamation mark on his performance in the period.

It wasn’t until 7:25 into the third that Torey Krug broke the stalemate with a power-play goal on St. Louis’ third man-advantage of the night, making it 1-0 Blues with 12:35 to play.

The downfall for the Blackhawks tonight was their inability to sustain pressure in the offensive zone, a trend that we’ve seen all season long, especially in the five-on-five setting. Jordan Binnington had a good game, but not a great game. He was never under pressure for any considerable stretch against the Blackhawks, who failed to capitalize on an excessive amount of defensive zone turnovers by the Blues tonight.

For as good as Marc-André Fleury was tonight, the defense finally looked like it had some sort of formation. As a result, they were able to clean up a bunch of rebounds in front of Fleury that they hadn’t done in previous nights, a significant issue contributing to Fleury’s rough start to the season.

A continued problem for the Blackhawks tonight was missed opportunities. The Blackhawks came out of the gates strong to open period two with Jonathan Toews’s line creating two high-danger chances in the first two minutes, but they couldn’t get anything past Jordan Binnington. Here’s a look at a Dominik Kubalík breakaway that Biningon shut down.

In the game’s final seconds, Kubalík had another great look over the middle against Binnington, and Marco Scandella deflected it as the Blues topped the Blackhawks 1-0. Kubalík had three, maybe even four, solid chances to score tonight, and he couldn’t deliver on any of them.

The bad news is that the Blackhawks remain win-less on the season at 0-7-2. But the good news is, they played their best 60 minutes of hockey all season, and they did it on the road against an excellent Blues team.

You can find the complete box score here!



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.