Duncan Keith

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks power up but fall in high-scoring affair to Blues

4 Takeaways: Blackhawks power up but fall in high-scoring affair to Blues

The Blackhawks scored three power-play goals, but lost 6-5 to the defending Stanley Cup champion Blues in St. Louis on Tuesday. Here are four takeaways: 

Crow's net

After trading goalie Robin Lehner to Vegas ahead of Monday's trade deadline, Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said Corey Crawford will be the team's lone starter the rest of the year, likely with Malcolm Subban (return from Lehner trade) backing him up.  

After a rough start to the game, allowing the Blues to draw first blood, Crawford made some big saves in the first period to keep the Hawks in it and allow them to answer back. 

Blackhawks defenseman Connor Murphy was tagged with a tripping penalty 11 seconds into the game that produced a Brayden Schenn power-play goal 33 seconds into the contest, which had Chicago trailing 1-0 early. 

Murphy later redeemed himself by scoring off a wrist shot at 14:09 of the first to give the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead. 

After a four-goal third period, Crawford finished the game with 31 saves on 37 shots. His performance wasn't indicative of the score. The Blackhawks defense had a rough game and the penalty kill went 2-for-4. 

100 for Duncs

Duncan Keith scored on a Blackhawks power play at 10:55 of the first period. 

He became the 100th defenseman in NHL history to score 100 goals. Keith joins Bob Murray, Doug Wilson and Brent Seabrook as the only defensemen to reach the milestone with the Blackhawks.

He later added an assist in the game to get him to 604 career points. 

The two-time Norris Trophy winner recorded his 500th assist in Wednesday's 6-3 loss against the New York Rangers. Keith is the 40th defenseman in NHL history to reach 600+ points. 

RELATED - Duncan Keith reaching elite career milestones this season

Powerful

With Keith's marker, the Hawks picked up a power-play goal in three straight games. They were 0-for-17 on the man advantage in their previous six.

Patrick Kane added another power-play goal for the visitors, scoring 1:13 into the second period. Brandon Saad scored the Blackhawks' third power play of the game at 8:16 of the third to put Chicago ahead 5-4. 

The Hawks only had three power-play goals in the entire month of February before Tuesday. It was only the second game this season in which Chicago had at least two power-play goals. The other was against Vancouver on Nov. 7 in a 5-2 win in which they scored two. 

D breakdowns

Like the majority of the time the Blackhawks have been scored on this season, a couple of the Blues' goals on Tuesday were a result of defensive breakdowns. In the third period, St. Louis scored two even-strength goals in 16 seconds. 

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Duncan Keith reaching elite career milestones this season

Duncan Keith reaching elite career milestones this season

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith's body of work is reaching new heights. As if three Stanley Cups, two Norris trophies and two Olympic gold medals weren't already enough for the veteran blueliner, he added more to his list of achievements this week.

Keith recorded his 100th NHL goal on Tuesday after he scored on a Blackhawks power play at 10:55 of the first period against the Blues in St. Louis to tie it 1-1. 

He became the 100th defenseman in NHL history to score 100 goals. Keith joins Bob Murray, Doug Wilson and Brent Seabrook as the only defensemen to reach the milestone with the Blackhawks.

Keith recorded his 500th NHL assist in Wednesday's 6-3 loss against the New York Rangers with the primary helper on Dominik Kubalik's second period goal that made it 1-1. 

On Friday, in a 2-1 overtime win over the Nashville Predators, Keith assisted on both of Alex DeBrincat's goals to help the Hawks grab a much-needed victory after going 1-5-2 in their previous seven games and get him to 601 career NHL points.

"It’s a great feeling," Keith said following Friday's game. "Obviously just to have that feeling, we were down most of the game. We stuck with it, we stayed patient, had some big penalty kills, I was in the box for a couple. 

"Huge win, nice to win like that at home, too. We’ve kind of had our struggles this year at home, it’s something we’ve talked about: having a better outcome, better atmosphere here. It was tough there for most of the game, we were down by one and found a way to get it done in overtime."

Keith became the seventh player in Blackhawks history to record 500+ assists and just the second defenseman to do so. Doug Wilson had 554. 

Keith is the 40th defenseman in NHL history to reach 600+ points. His 604 points place him at 38th on the NHL defensemen all-time points list. 

"It feels good," Keith said of the latest milestone. "It’s been a fun ride, it’s been a privilege being a part of this team, this organization. We’re treated first class, played with a lot of great teammates over the years. Patrick Kane always seems to be included in those milestones, for me anyway. Like I said, [I'm] lucky to play with great players, got to get in done in a win too."

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The Blackhawks' uphill battle 'just sucks', so it's time to spark some optimism

The Blackhawks' uphill battle 'just sucks', so it's time to spark some optimism

Sitting eight points out of the playoffs, with four teams to jump and trade rumors circulating, the Blackhawks just need to feel good. 

It was clear at Fifth Third Arena on Thursday following off-ice work and meetings that the Hawks aren't feeling too hot about where they're at. Truthfully, the vibe could have best been compared to the type of demeanor and commentary you'd witness from players at the conclusion of a season in which they didn't make the playoffs, like the last two.

The Hawks more than likely sealed their non-postseason fate for the third straight year after going 1-4-0 on their recent road trip in Canada.

"I don't know if we're necessarily thinking about playoffs," Chicago forward Ryan Carpenter said. "That's still so many games away. But yeah, we're optimistic in here, we've gone on streaks before. 

"But right now this just sucks, the feeling in the locker room, and losing. No one’s happy in here, including myself, and we've got to find a way to figure it out. [Friday] will be a good chance against a good team in Nashville, and we'll be home and we'll see how we respond."

"It seems like it's been the last couple weeks here where we got off to a bad start on that road trip and it snowballed," said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who recorded his 500th NHL assist on Wednesday. "Now that we're home, we've got a big game [Friday]. 

"We're obviously not happy with the last game (6-3 loss to Rangers at home on Wednesday), but we've got to find a way to get out of it and turn the page. I think that's what it comes down to. It comes down to just being better. We know what we have to do. It's just a matter of being consistent at it throughout the course of the game and having a good start."

The Hawks were tied 1-1 with the Rangers after the second period on Wednesday before allowing five third-period goals.

"Well, I don't know," Keith said of the reason behind the collapse in the final frame. "It seemed like they got the one goal and we just got deflated. And again it kind of snowballed from there without much pushback. When we're always chasing – they got the first goal in the game too – and we always felt like we were kind of chasing the whole game. 

"For whatever reason we weren't able to mount much of a comeback. I mean, I think at some point you give the other team some credit. They have some big guys and they hang onto pucks; they don't throw pucks away. 

"They force you to earn the puck back and it didn't seem like there were too many odd-man rushes for us. So those little things that we talk about in our game, when we do those things we're a hard team play against. And when we don't, things like that happen."

Friday the Blackhawks face the Predators, just three points out of the second wild card spot and itching to get in the postseason mix.

"We've faced adversity at different points in the season and this is just another one of those times where we need to really get back together and play the style of game we know we can play and know we can win with," Hawks forward Alex DeBrincat said. "I think that's what we're focused on right now."

The trade deadline rumors and whispers aren't helping the Blackhawks.

"Try to let it go as much as possible," DeBrincat said of how players deal with possibility of them or a teammate leaving. "For us in here, there's not much we can do at this point. 

"We're just trying to go out there and win games; whatever happens, happens. They know what they're doing and for us, we're all together as a team right now, so play as a team and focus on winning."

Regardless of the situation the team is in and no matter who stays or goes, the Hawks need to feel good about themselves and re-establish a high level to play at before things go from bad to worse with the possibility of carrying over into next season.

"We've got to create our own optimism by how we play," Blackhawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said. "I think the feeling in the group is not as good because our performance wasn't good enough last game. Obviously you look at the standings and no one feels good about it. The way we can bring good feelings back is by being really good tonight for 60 minutes."

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