The Blackhawks headed into first intermission pretty happy with their first 20 minutes.
They had reason to be. After struggling to score goals for several games, the Blackhawks put up five goals on a St. Louis Blues team coming off a loss to the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night. But by the second period, the Blackhawks’ lead was gone. And near the end of 3-on-3, so was the chance at two points.
Teuvo Teravainen, Andrew Shaw and Brent Seabrook had a goal and an assist each, but Vladimir Tarasenko had the overtime winner in the Blues’ 6-5 comeback victory on Wednesday night. It was a disappointing end for the Blackhawks, who looked like they were in great shape after the first 20 minutes. But the Blues, who didn’t get into Chicago until 4 a.m. — dense fog forced them to land in Milwaukee and then take a bus here — had more answers.
Asked if this was one that got away from the Blackhawks, coach Joel Quenneville said, “Yeah, it certainly did.”
“You certainly want to put a team away,” he said. “You’re up 5-2, they played last night and you think we have a lot more hockey coming there. They got the momentum back. We slowed them down in the third and in overtime we had our turn. They got it.”
The Blackhawks had it in the first period, a bizarre 20 minutes that featured seven goals and St. Louis changing goaltenders twice — Brian Elliott started, was replaced by Jake Allen after Teravainen’s goal, came back in and then was replaced by Allen again after being part of a collision in the Blues net. Marko Dano scored his first goal with the Blackhawks and Shaw scored his first of the season on a penalty shot.
But the euphoria disappeared in the second period, when the Blues scored three times. David Backes’ goal with about 33 seconds remaining in the period tied the game 5-5 and quieted a once happy United Center crowd.
“I just think that we had those lapses where we gave up chances against that ended up in our net,” Jonathan Toews said. “Obviously, the players they had on the ice, they were getting those bounces and they made us pay. So it’s unfortunate that it kind of took the wind out of our sails a little bit in that second period and gave them life a little bit for that second 20 minutes.”
Corey Crawford, who has been strong through this early season, had a rough night.
“It seemed like it wasn’t as much urgency as there was at the beginning of the game. As a goalie too, when your team has a good start, especially five goals, you want to be able to shut it down,” said Crawford after allowing six goals on 29 shots. “It seemed like, no matter what was happening, everything seemed to find its way in.”
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The Blackhawks managed a point in getting to overtime and had some chances there. But Tarasenko scored with 1:06 remaining in 3-on-3. It was the first overtime loss for the Blackhawks this season; they won the previous three.
“There [are] a lot of chances both ways. Anything can happen. Obviously at some point, if you’re caught on a bad change, kind of like I was tonight, you put your team in an awkward spot and it just takes one chance to lose the game like that,” Toews said. “I think that’s what obviously happened.”
The Blackhawks started the night with plenty of offense. It was they allowed, however, that hurt them.
“I never have to worry about offense. We didn’t score [in regulation] against two good teams who know how we play and are very familiar with us and both teams were content playing that type of style,” Quenneville said. “But we’ll measure our performance with how we play without the puck and knowing there are enough ways we can score.”