The Blackhawks showed a little bit of life offensively, finally getting a second goal in a game and finally getting some production from a forward. But the defense wasn’t good at all and the streaky St. Louis Blues took advantage, winning their fourth straight game and getting that much closer in the Blackhawks’ rear view mirror.
Star 1: Andreas Athanasiou
Athanasiou hadn’t scored a goal since Oct. 30 (he had only one assist in his first six games in November) but he put in two in the second period alone. His first was pure speed, the second — on the power play — was calculated and patient. He’s now up to five goals on the year and this night will hopefully do well for his confidence offensively. The Blackhawks need him to finish more often.
Star 2: The 2023 NHL Draft
This regulation loss for the Blackhawks puts them at 15 points in 16 games. This regulation win is the Blues’ fourth straight and puts them up to 13 points in 15 games. It appears they found whatever they were missing a week and a half ago and have turned their ship around, which is great news if you’re hoping the Blackhawks land a high draft pick next summer.
Star 3: Jonathan Toews
Another night of faceoff excellence from Toews, who didn’t lose a faceoff in the first period and was 13 for 16 at the dot through 40 minutes. In fact, at the end of the second period, Toews was 13 for 16 and his teammates were 4 for 17… He finished the night winning 18 of 23 (78.3 percent).
- I made the critical mistake of mentioning in my pregame notes that Ryan O’Reilly had zero points at the United Center as a member of the Blues. He had an assist on the Blues’ first goal in the first period and then scored a short-handed goal in the second. I’m gonna own that one. My bad, folks. I’ll never mention a player having no points in Chicago again.
- For what it’s worth, I also wrote about the Blackhawks’ forwards not producing — and specifically called out Athanasiou — yesterday. And he scored two pretty goals in the second period. So… I’m batting .500 right now.
- Five goals were scored in 6:25 in the second period — three by the Blues and two for Athanasiou. O’Reilly’s short-handed goal and Athanasiou’s power play goal came during the same penalty.
- The numbers will say Arvid Söderblom had a bad night, and it certainly wasn’t his best. But the skaters in front of him did very little to help the cause. For examples: he faced more shots in the second period (18) than the Hawks had total for the first two periods (17).
- Alec Regula had a really tough night at the office. The Blues’ first goal appeared to go in off his body and he took a bad penalty in the second period. Caleb Jones‘ performance was maybe the only one that was worse on the Blackhawks’ blue line — and they were playing together! After two periods, the Blackhawks had allowed four goals. Jones was minus-4 and Regula was minus-3. Jones then got beat on Barbashev’s goal to start the third period and was a “perfect” minus-5 with the Blues having five goals on the board.
- If you didn’t see it this afternoon, Ian Mitchell had two power play goals and two assists for a four-point effort in a morning start against Grand Rapids. He now has five points in three games for the IceHogs. I’ve seen enough from Regula and Caleb Jones that it might be time for Mitchell to get some NHL ice time in place of either of them.