Duncan Keith, Blackhawks Stun Blues In St. Louis

For their final regular season home game of the 2017-18 season, the St. Louis Blues hosted the Jonathan Toews-less Chicago Blackhawks.

St. Louis needed a win to stay in the playoff race.

Chicago needed a loss to stay in the mix for a high draft pick.

Of course neither side wanted to cooperate.

Robert Bortuzzo got St. Louis on the board early, scoring his fourth of the season.

Chicago’s answer?

Dylan Sikura picked up his third assist in as many games on Andreas Martinsen’s first goal with the Blackhawks. It was a terrible goal for Jake Allen to give up, an issue that didn’t end with the Hawks’ first goal.

The Blues out-shot the Hawks 14-8 in the first. They dominated most of the period. But Allen sucks, so the game was tied after 20 minutes.

Connor Murphy had to finish serving a minor penalty for 26 seconds to open the second period, which the Hawks successfully killed. But Brayden Schenn scored his 27th of the season at 47 seconds into the second period to give the Blues the lead once again.

Chicago didn’t quickly answer this time, though. In fact, Vladimir Tarasenko extended the lead to 3-1 with his 33rd of the season five minutes later.

It appeared to be another night of the Hawks getting out-skated, out-shot and out-worked.

Duncan Keith went to the box at 8:12 and the Blues could have put the game away. Instead, Blake Hillman unloaded and scored a short-handed goal for the first goal of his NHL career.

Another goal that wasn’t ideal for Allen to give up, and the score was 3-2. After 40 minutes the Blues had a 29-15 shot advantage but were leading by only one.

In the third, the Blues didn’t appear to want anything to do with putting the Hawks away, instead preferring to let the youngsters hang around. Martinsen had a couple more good, physical shifts early in the third and at 8:30 into the third Alex DeBrincat tied the game at three.

DeBrincat’s 28th of the season moved him into first on the Chicago roster, ahead of Patrick Kane.

Reminder: Jake Allen sucks.

JF Berube wasn’t great at times on Wednesday night, but he made enough saves to keep the Blackhawks in the game while the confidence on the other end of the ice was clearly low.

Chris Butler held Patrick Sharp and was sent to the box with exactly two minutes left in regulation. Again, the Blues were the team that needed a win on Wednesday night – not the Blackhawks.

With 8.5 seconds left in regulation, Duncan Keith scored his second goal of the season and gave the Blackhawks a 4-3 lead. Chicago would hang onto the lead through the final horn, dealing a potentially crushing blow to the Blues’ playoff hopes.

In review:

  • This was a game the Blues had to have.
  • This was the Blues’ final regular season home game. Against the rival Blackhawks.
  • The Blackhawks didn’t have Jonathan Toews.
  • The Blackhawks won 33 percent of the faceoffs in the game.
  • The Blues had a 3-1 lead in the second period.
  • The Blues lost.

Berube stopped 31 of 34 in the win. Allen, who sucks, stopped 22 of 26 to take the loss.

DeBrincat added an assist on the Keith goal to give Chicago’s star rookie a two-point night. Martinsen led Chicago with five shots on net and was noticeable all night. Brent Seabrook blocked a team-leading six shots.

41 thoughts on “Duncan Keith, Blackhawks Stun Blues In St. Louis

  1. Great stuff. Let’s do it again on Friday and really kneecap them. My only regret is that Backes, Reaves, and Jackman aren’t still with them.

  2. We’ve seen enough of a sample size on Rutta to know he’s a waste of 2.2m for next year. On the flip side Hillman is composed back there, he’s strong, keeps it simple and makes the right plays.

  3. Demo spot on 1000%. In the same vein, Hillman is clearly a better player (even in one game) than not only Rutta, but Oesterle and even Murphy. As Demo noted, thats a large caphit for a marginal D man, and over $1M to bury (no one is going to claim him, let alone trade for him at that salary). These are the types of decisions that make us wonder about Bowman and where is head is at sometimes.

  4. Agree with Demo. Hillman looks calm and is doing the right thing with the puck. I know this doesn’t help the Hawks as far as the draft goes, but to beat St. Louis in the last seconds was truly enjoyable.

  5. P. S. Conversely, Bowman has to be given credit for players like Hillman & Debrincat (and others as well, Schmaltz etc…). As I’ve said before, his drafting and eye for young talent is outstanding; however, his decision making as to trading, signing and re-signing NHL players has been atrocious.

  6. 29 looked solid. Saw a few choice checks well before he scored. Nice to see a physical game from one of ours. Need some guys like that.

    Murphy a keeper. Not a top d-man but a solid contributor. I know hit stats don’t matter but we need SOME physical presence, and he brings that. A little snarl goes a long way.

    Keith and 7 are here to stay, so let’s be WISE: fewer minutes for both = greater effectiveness. Q has run them both into the ground. Can’t do it anymore. But can still bring it when fresh. Coaching…

    We need a couple of stud blueliners next year to take the pressure and minutes off of 2 and 7 and we make the playoffs.

  7. “I guess that’s why they call it the blues.”

    Demo, Iceman – right on about Hillman. I’ve got a good feeling about this kid.

  8. As much as I would like it to be the Hawks to stick it to them stinkin Blues to keep them out of the playoffs, a loss for a better draft pick is better, in my opinion. But they won the game so there are some positives and some negatives to take away.

    First the positives – Matrinsen, Sikura and Hillman.

    Martinsen is exceeding my expectations by quite a lot. I figured he would be the typical banger who gets a few hits in the 8 to 10 minutes a game but that would be about it. I’m pleasantly surprised to see there’s more to his game and he may be earning himself a 4th line role for next season.

    Sikura is the real deal. The assist he got tonight was a lucky one but he recognized the play and got the puck where it needed to go. The fact that Anisimov wasn’t ready for it and it bounced off his skate to Martinsen was another case of Anisimov not being ready for a great shooting opportunity, very similar to multiple times early in the season when DeBrincat put a pass on a tee for Anisimov and AA flubbed it. The point is Sikura is a high end offensive talent who needs to play with other high end players to maximize his abilities. DeBrincat yes, Ejdsell no (more on him later).

    Hillman may be serviceable after all. He’s not quick so he’s prone to get beat with speed, but he plays pretty sound and composed and that alone raises him above a couple other d-men. Nice one-timer – hard and accurate. He doesn’t seem cautious for a d-man playing his 2nd game. Maybe he’ll end up in the mix next season after all.

    Now the negative – Ejdsell, Rutta and Gustafsson.

    Ejdsell – the more I see him the less I like what I see. First, he is glacier-like slow as he showed when he lumbered back to retrieve the puck on the PP and the Blues player caught him from like 30 feet behind him. That was awful. Second, although he’s shown decent hands and vision, he seems to have trouble catching passes when the puck hits the tape on his stick. I’m not saying he won’t eventually be a decent player but right now he certainly wouldn’t make the starting lineup if it were up to me.

    Rutta and Gustafsson – I put them together because neither are good in the d-zone (and you can throw Oesterle in there too although he didn’t play tonight). None of them can defend the blue paint by either tying up the body or the stick and often times they’re not even in the correct position to try. On top of that they have what is sometimes called a “case of the yips” where they cough up pizzas more often than a starting NHL d-man should. In the case of all 3 of them – none of them are “young players” where you could assume they will get better with more experience. All 3 of them are good offensively but you can’t have 3 of the 6 starting d-men bad in their own end.

  9. Martinsen is fool’s gold. He is a career minor leaguer. Let us recall, Bollig also looked ok for a few games at the end of ’12 when he was recalled. Q was smitten with him on first sight. We saw how that turned out long term — Q was dressing but not playing him hardly in ’14 playoffs, later admitted privately his bad. Bollig traded thereafter (and rightly so).

    If Bowman re-signs Martinsen, he is going to be on the team next season. And dress for at least half the games. (Mashinter & Tootoo, do those names ring a bell as well?).

  10. Keep Anisimov and let Ejdsell play a year in Rockford and then assess if Ejdsell can essentially replace Anisimov.

    Saad-Toews-Kane
    DeBrincat-Schmaltz-Sikura
    Hinostroza-Anisimov-Duclair
    Martinsen-Kampf-Hayden

  11. PS. Bollig played all 82 games in ’14; when the playoffs started, it was like everyone was skating ten times faster than him. Deer in headlights.

    I have a news flash for anyone who thinks otherwise as to Martinsen: he is not the second coming of Secord, Ladd or even Brouwer. He’s not one of the Hawks 13 best forwards. Or 15.

  12. Question, Tab and others,
    The Chicago Wolfs WERE the Blues AHL affiliate last year and this year they are the Golden Nights. The Blues do not have an AHL team this year the San Antonio team is listed as a Colorado team. What happened to the players that were under contract to the Blues? Is there a D-man or goalie worth looking at?

  13. ER- Remember My post ??? and Your reply

    Let’s face it….

    Hillman/Tuulola/Mitchell…

    are all better options than 56/82/Murphy/and yes Seabrook… when considering the latter are below average to average at best… and make a Shit ton more money (so hurt the TEAM when Cap $$$ are considered)…

    Furthermore- the kids all skate better and are cheaper… and can GROW/learn… where as the “Hawks” guys… are on the wrong side of Growth/and pretty much done learning

    Tab- I was wrong again… I should have include Ruuta… in that list of worthless Hawk’s D guys … that several prospects are “better Options” than…

  14. For what it’s worth……..according to TSN, Q should be fired on Monday, which will have a HUGE ripple effect on the coaching moves in the NHL.

    To me, I look at a game like tonight and see how good of a coach Q really is. His team has really nothing to play for, they are down 3-1 in the game, they are without their best center(arguably) AND they are playing a team that has everything to gain by winning IN THEIR OWN BUILDING. And somehow, Q gets his team to settle down after a poor start, and they win.

    So why fire him?

  15. I’ve been on Hillman all year. He was a man among boys at Denver. Watch his positioning ! He plays his side of the ice, rarely chases, and makes really good simple plays all game long. His fundamentals are so solid that his play is almost a given or “ predictable “ as Q likes to say.

    Ruuta will likely be traded at the draft. Right handed defensemen are in demand and his numbers are a tad misleading, put up mostly in the the first half of the season. A completely different player after he got run into the end boards. Untradable at the deadline. He’s on the Kempny train.

  16. If Q is fired on Monday it will be a clear mark of the end of the greatest stretch in Hawks history. I continue to have very mixed emotions as I would prefer that Q returns yet understanding that a new voice may be needed. To me the biggest question mark is who is that new voice?

    Regarding tonight, as much as I wanted us to lose for draft position, man it was great to see Duncs bury the game winner. Ejdsell hasn’t shown anything, he needs to spend time in Rockford. I have no idea if Hillman will make it in the NHL but his size and movement looks the part much more than our cast of bottom pair characters. There must be much more to the story of why we signed Rutta for $2.2m as it continues to look absurd on its face.

  17. As Hawks fans last night the Blues defeat served us up some heady pleasure in a season that has yielded far to much disappointment. It wasn’t pretty from a technical standpoint, but Hawks got it done against a team playing at home that HAD to win. Hawks players comments before the game said alot. They wanted to spoil the Blues playoff chances, and they somehow backed it up. Yes, goaltending at both ends was soft, but Allen surely gets the choker of the game award for most of the pucks that got by him. Ironic to me that Keith scores the go ahead after probably registering the worst shooting percentage in the NHL this year. Hey, the odds catch up eventually. I was just cracking up when that goal went in and Blues players heads all slumped.

    Defensive miscues by the Hawks were cringe worthy last night, again. Rutta particularly bad imo, but most of the d corps were a step slow and help from forwards was not acceptable, giving the Blues glorious scoring chances especially in the first 2 periods where St Louis should have put the game away. Multiple blown d zone clearing attempts for example. Rough viewing.

    Some of the Hawks new guys are not quite ready for prime time imo, but show some promise. This team needs some off season veteran talent adds on the backline if possible and another quality forward to mix in with the re-tool program. Another back up keeper that has better consistency. Forsberg was an adventure in that role. Some great games and some real stinkers. Softy index too high imo.

    I am not for sacking Q. This team did not play to it’s potential, and the December injury to Crow was a season over deal for any team. In the end, this team did not have the horses, and the ones the Hawks have didn’t reach their potential in some cases. Sure they missed Panarin. Saad was a serious underachiever making it look worse. Would not cap issues seriously have hampered the re-signing of Panarin over this summer? Isn’t that why he was dealt last summer? I’m thinking Saad is a much better player next year for the Hawks. His shooting percentages were I think at career lows. Maybe he and Keith drink water from the same fountain. Remember Hossa 2 years ago and last season? Hoss two years ago could not find the back of the net, but was getting many quality chances. Then last year he started burying those chances. I think this will happen with Saad next season.

    Lets GO Hawks!

  18. If Quennville goes, that is a sign of a Red Wings type rebuild. I am one who hopes he stays.

  19. Toot 70 the Blues sent players to both Chicago Wolves and San Antonio this season. Next season San Antonio is their affiliate 5 yr. agrerment and Colorado getting an expansion team in Denver to affiliate with.
    Some of these new guys may win a spot next year but hard to judge yet

  20. If the Hawks knock the Blues out of the playoffs and somehow, miraculously, get Dahlin, I’m going to be sick.

  21. Lots of positive takeaways from last night although the Hawks only won because the Bliues got the sort of sucky goaltending the Hawks have had way too many times during their short lived playoff push.

    Some positives – Martinsens (way better than Bollig ever was), Sikura (continues to show he’s the real deal), Hillman (showed promise although may still need time in AHL) but the biggest take away IMO was that 2 and 7 looked like a legit top pairing all game long. They played great, together as individually, which makes a good case for a possible bounce back next year but also begs the question where has that been all year.

    Is it because they’ve only recently been paired together? Is it motivation? confidence? Being out of shape?

    They were a joy to watch last night – if they can keep that going into next year 5 IMO is a top 4 D man then you need to add one more top 4.

    Agree with others on 56, 82 and 44 – time bombs in their own zone – although 44 has had decent stretches albeit at start of the year, maybe he gets paired with Forsling for a 3rd pair

  22. Don’t know where this Q is being fired Monday stuff started because TSN is NOT reporting that. Only that he is on the hot seat along with 7-8 other coaches. An article also stated that teams might even fire their coach to get Q. Firing a HOF coach because of shitty Goaltending and loss of good defensemen is a STUPID idea.

  23. Hopefully if Toews back in lineup tomorrow he plays with Sikura and DeBrincat as Ejdsell not making this line noticeable enough. Let him play more of a checking role and see how he looks. Not a top 6 guy i don’t think.

  24. Wall, I still say it’s wrong to claim players who haven’t played in the NHL are better than NHL players, regardless of what eventually happens. The competition the NHL player faces is so much better than the non-NHL player faces as to make the comparison dubious.

    Hillman has had a couple decent games – not great, but serviceable. It’s doubtful he will be anywhere near as good offensively as 56/44/82, but maybe he will turn out to be a more solid defender in a bottom pairing role. Maybe. It’s only been 2 games.

  25. Q is not the problem. He can only do so much with the talent he has to work with. He stuck with DeBrincat all year when many on this blog wanted him sent to Rockford. He gave many of the young guys beneficial playing time. If anybody should be fired it should be Bowman. How is that Saad (35 points) – Panarin (80 points) trade working out?

  26. ER- I am just busting your chops…

    But- Bottom line-imo- most current Hawk’s D men are NOT good enough…

    Luv 56 in O-Zone… you can count on him to TO pucks on a regular basis

    Oesterle- skate ok… but is under-sized… and crumbles under pressure

    Seabrook- Is way too slow… and only gonna get worse

    Ruuta- I loved him early… played smart/TvR like Hockey- predictable…
    then he was Concussed… NOT the same since then

    Murphy- Not as “fast” as SB told us… Like his physical play… but- he is prone to Big blunders, and will chase the Hit at exactly the wrong time, without the speed to recover

    In Summary– Hawks are skating 5 D guys– worthy of Bottom pairing…

    So it is EASY for me to Claim- these Prospects are Better Options (doesn’t mean better)… but- factor in Cheaper,,, with a chance to grow and improve… Can’t be much worse than the 5 guys skating above ( terms/considered)

  27. I supported it at the time….but the Panarin-Saad deal has to be considered an abject failure. Panarin is scoring at the same clip he did last year only without Kane on his line. He is one of the few point a game players in the whole league, along with Kane. We took a talent like that and downgraded it for a guy who was demoted to the 4th line by the end of last year, and played himself down to the 4th line again this season.

    Throw in the fact that we targeted Forsberg in the deal to be our backup goalie, and our whole season crumbled when the guy actually had to play some games.

    I understand he only had 2 years on his contract at $6 million and Saad has 4, but give me 2 years of Panarin at $6 per and I’ll take my chances with what happens after that. By then Keith / Seabs / Crow would have been too old to compete at the same level anyway.

    And we are talking about sacking Q after the season? That deal alone would be a fireable offense for most teams. Let Stan manage the draft and draft related personnel, get a new GM to negotiate contracts and handle the pro personnel moves and hire new guys under him.

  28. Agree with HereisMike. Surely getting rid of Q is just TSN chatter. If it actually happens that will be way worse then the Saad -Panarin deal.

  29. Lazerus just tweeted the following:

    Joel Quenneville and Stan Bowman WILL return to the Blackhawks next season, team president John McDonough says.

  30. Based on performance (and the need for a new direction), I think there are strong cases to be made for turfing both (and much of the player development network). However, while our decline fall has been coming for some time, we really only tumbled off the cliff in the back half of this year. So even if Rocky wanted to make a big overhaul there hasn’t been much time. We’ll see.

  31. The first season of the Saad-Panarin trade was a failure.

    If one year determines the long-term viability of any managerial decision, then we should all be unemployed. Because it took a couple years for the Andrew Shaw trade to turn into Alex DeBrincat…

    I still firmly believe that the Saad-Panarin deal makes sense for the long term, sustained success of the organization. Panarin is going to be a $10M per player when this contract expires which means the Hawks would have been renting him for 2 years. Saad is the type of forward the Blackhawks need in the wake of Hossa being gone. What the Blackhawks didn’t anticipate is Saad’s awful luck this season (which we’ve discussed). If/when one of the next wave of kids comes out and scores 25-30 goals it will help soften the loss. Just as players have replaced others over the last 7 years, more will come through that the Blackhawks “can’t live without” only to have them leave and be replaced. Chicago just couldn’t replace Hossa, Hjalmarsson AND Panarin in one year.

    On to the next…

  32. There were only a couple of people who felt D-Cat should have been sent down, and one person hasn’t been on the site all year.
    He’s the real deal.

    Agree with Wraparound-Martinsen is better skilled than Bollig–he will be a bottom six guy but he can fill an important role that Wingels-Bouma filled this year.

  33. I agree with Hereismike. Saad has laid an egg 2 years in a row. That is called a trend. I hope he reverses the trend because he will most likely start next season on the top line and if the Hawks expect to be playoff relevant next year, that top line has to score.

    Certainly you can not disagree with the point that Saad gives the Hawks more long term flexibility but a lot can change in 2 years. Maybe Seabs develops the “rash” and retires. One never knows but one thing we do know is that point a night guys do not grow on trees and are not drafted in the positions where we have been drafting. It will be interesting to see if the Bread man deliveries this year in the playoffs.

    Go Hawks

  34. Here is Saad’s career point production by season:

    Season: G – A – Pts
    2013-14: 19 – 28 – 47
    2014-15: 23 – 29 – 52
    2015-16: 31 – 22 – 53
    2016-17: 24 – 29 – 53
    2017-18: 18 – 17 – 35

    If you want to call 24 goals a “slide” that’s fine, HHNL. But he’s consistently been a 52-53 point producer

  35. This is good information….Saad is what he is. Just because you pay him $6 million per year, it doesn’t make him a different or better player.

    I think that contract was handed out in anticipation of him, due to his age, taking the next step in terms of production and consistency. The numbers seem to bear out that that has never, and probably never will happen.

    The trade was made with the thought that we can live with a 25 goal, 50 point guy on the top line that can be physical, kill penalties, go to the dirty areas, and score in the playoffs. As long as Saad can be the guy he has always been, I supposed we got what we traded for.

    What we see in this latest year is the concern that it doesn’t happen again. Especially in the light that the guy we traded for him did not take the anticipated step back in production minus playing with Patrick Kane.

  36. Don ‘t forget the improvement in pk this season until lately is something Saad played a big part in. We like to mention the pp losing Panarin which hurt but the fewer goals on pk that Saad contributed too counter that a bit.

  37. Re defense, 2 & 7 have reached the age where they can’t carry a partner, in fact they look worse as they try to cover. Leave them paired together and go out and get two legit defenders to be too pair. I like 2 & 7 going against the other teams 2nd line. Throw Murphy and potpourri the other d man for the third pair and things will be looking up.

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