It was an emotional pre-game tribute honoring two former St. Louis Blues players, Pavol Demitra and Igor Korolev, who passed away this summer in a tragic plane crash in Russia carrying the entire KHL hockey team Yaroslavl Lokomotiv.
Notable changes were made these past couple days for the Blackhawks after back-to-back losses to Tampa Bay and an embarrassing home loss to Vancouver. Joel Quenneville clearly sent a message to the team with these changes and is, as always, searching for consistency. Coach Q spruced up the power play units, the top defensive pairings saw changes, and Sean O’Donnell, Sami Lepisto, and Bryan Bickell found themselves watching the game tonight from the press box while Rostislav Olesz saw some action for the first time in a month. Duncan Keith also returned from a hand injury that kept him out of the lineup the past 3 games.
In the first 12 games of the season, the Blackhawks earned at least a point in every one of them except 2. With their 3-0 loss tonight, their losing streak extends to 3 games and have only picked up a point out of a possible 6 in their last 3 games.
After allowing 5 power play goals to Vancouver at home on Sunday night, Chicago dropped out of the top 5 in penalty kill and plummeted down to the bottom 10 in the NHL. That rank probably slipped a few more after tonight as well.
The Blackhawks just didn’t seem like they wanted to play a hockey game tonight. It was Ken Hitchcock’s debut as head coach of the Blues, 2 days after the firing of Davis Payne, and you knew they’d enter the game with some energy. Vladimir Sobotka, Chris Stewart, and TJ Oshie were credited with the goals. Jaroslav Halak stoned all 29 shots faced earning his second win of the season and first shutout of the year.
As for the Blackhawks, the stars were a no-show, the defense wasn’t much better, and Corey Crawford was shaky at best. Simple as that. An overall disappointing performance to say the least. The power play officially slipped to dead last in the NHL after an 0-for-4 night against the Blues and the penalty kill allowed its 6th goal in 2 games finishing 1-for-2 on the evening.
The Blackhawks take on the Blue Jackets in their second match-up of the season, this time in Columbus; puck drop at 6:00pm CT! Chicago won the first game 5-2 late in October.