The Chicago Blackhawks suffered a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday at the United Center. Sloppy defense and limited offense cost the Hawks as they dropped their second straight game. Here's how the action unfolded.
First Period: Blues Get a Bounce
The Blues got the first power play 2:23 into the game when Jack Johnson took a tripping penalty. But the visitors couldn't get much going and the Blackhawks killed it off successfully.
Nearly seven minutes into the frame, the Blackhawks got a grade-A scoring chance when Philipp Kurashev rushed into the zone with Taylor Raddysh. Blues' goalie Jordan Binnington was up to the task and made a spectacular glove save on Raddysh's wrist shot.
The Blues eventually opened the scoring when Calle Rosen fired a shot from the point that deflected off Blackhawks' defenseman Alec Regula and past Arvid Soderblom.
With just seven seconds remaining on the clock, Nick Leddy went to the box for a holding penalty on Kurashev. As a result, the majority of the penalty time carried over into the second period.
Second Period: A Scoring Frenzy
At the tail end of the man advantage, Andreas Athanasiou had a chance right on the doorstep but fumbled the puck. Alas, the Blackhawks' power play came up empty.
Then, the Blues extended their lead to 2-0. With the Blackhawks out of sorts in front of their own net, Jordan Kyrou navigated through the slot and buried a shot from the right circle.
Chicago was next to light the lamp. On what looked to be a simple zone entry, Athanasiou got behind the Blues' defense. He took a nice saucer pass from Max Domi and had a mini breakaway, which he capitalized on to pull the Blackhawks within one.
The Blackhawks got a power play shortly after looking to find the equalizer. It was quite the sequence as both teams scored while Pavel Buchnevich was in the box for an interference penalty.
First, Ryan O'Reilly intercepted a cross-ice pass and rushed into Chicago's zone with Noel Acciari. After his first shot was stopped, the Blues' captain cleaned up the loose change for a shorthanded goal to put the Blues up 3-1.
Andreas Athanasiou responded soon after with his second tally of the period. The speedy winger had time and space once again, this time using it to beat Jordan Binnington with a shot on the blocker side.
Two minutes later, Tyler Pitlick restored the Blues' two-goal lead. After maneuvering around Athanasiou, Pitlick found space in the low slot and blasted home Nikita Alexandrov's feed from below the goal line.
St. Louis had an opportunity to add its fourth goal of the period when Alec Regula went to the box for a holding infraction at 16:56. But the Blackhawks' penalty kill remained unscathed on the night, and the Blues took their 4-2 lead into the second intermission.
Third Period: St. Louis Adds Insurance Goal
The Blues continued their scoring ways in the third period. Just under seven minutes into the frame, Ivan Barbashev got behind the Blackhawks' defense and beat Arvid Soderblom to extend the visitors' lead to 5-2.
The Blackhawks had one more power play chance when Vladimir Tarasenko took a holding penalty at the 16:40 mark. Chicago couldn't convert, however, and that was all she wrote.
The Blues emerged with a 5-2 victory to extend their winning streak to four games. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks lost their second straight game, which was their eighth defeat in their last 10 contests.
After some line shuffling over the past few games, Luke Richardson reunited his top two units. Andreas Athanasiou, Max Domi, and Patrick Kane made up the first group again, and it helped the Hawks score their first goal since Saturday. Domi connected with Athanasiou for a nice goal early in the second period.
It was a sloppy game overall, and the Blackhawks accounted for a lot of it. They were often out of sorts in their own zone, and the Blues made them pay for it on multiple occasions. Richardson will surely want his team to clean up those mistakes moving forward.
Jason Dickinson returned to the Blackhawks' lineup after a two-game absence due to an illness. He had one shot on goal and played 14:25, including 1:05 of shorthanded time.
Alec Regula, who was a healthy scratch for the last two games, had an underwhelming return to the ice. He was -3 with a penalty and one giveaway, and the Blues' first goal deflected off him into the net. Rough stuff.
What's On Tap Next?
The Chicago Blackhawks are off Thursday and Friday before a busy weekend. While it's easy to look ahead to Marian Hossa's jersey retirement on Sunday, the Hawks have a quick road trip first. They'll visit the Boston Bruins Saturday night for a 6:00 PM CT puck drop. The game will air on NBC Sports Chicago.