St. Louis Blues

Patrick Kane in a Blues sweater is a Blackhawks fan's nightmare

Patrick Kane in a Blues sweater is a Blackhawks fan's nightmare

We are now 42 days into the NHL pausing the season, and we’ve officially hit a quarantine low.

In late March, the NHL did a redo of the 2006 NHL Draft, with the St. Louis Blues select Jonathan Toews first overall. Now, we have graphic designers doing crazy NHL jersey swaps.

Shield your eyes, Blackhawks fans. If you don’t want to see Patrick Kane wearing 88 for the Blues, scroll no further…

BURN IT WITH FIRE!

Props to Chris because that is a very well done jersey swap. However, this would be like photoshopping Ryan Kesler or Alex Burrows in a Blackhawks sweater. Or photoshopping Toews or Duncan Keith in a Red Wings or Canucks sweater.

Thankfully for both Blackhawks and Blues fans, this is not a reality. Kane is essentially public enemy No. 1 in St. Louis, getting mercilessly booed during this year’s All-Star festivities.

So next time you get the urge to photoshop a Blackhawks legend in a rival sweater, maybe just don’t?

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NHL 20 sim: Blackhawks eliminated from playoffs in Game 7 loss to Blues

NHL 20 sim: Blackhawks eliminated from playoffs in Game 7 loss to Blues

For the second time since 2016, the Blackhawks and Blues will meet in Game 7 of a first round matchup. In 2016, the Blues jumped out to a 3-1 series lead, the Hawks fought back to force a Game 7, only for St. Louis to fight off the comeback attempt and advance in the playoffs. This time around, it was the Blackhawks holding a 3-1 lead only to find themselves in a seventh game after the Blues won back-to-back overtime thrillers.

Coach Jeremy Colliton mixed up the lines in an effort to give his offense a jolt, re-uniting the “nuclear option” of Dominik Kubalik, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the top line. Will the line changes finally get Kane going and spark the Blackhawks to a huge upset?

Game 7: Blackhawks at Blues (April 21)

Result: Blues win 5-2 (STL wins series 4-3)

Three Stars:

First Star: Ryan O’Reilly (1 G, 1 A, 6 SOG, +2, 10-15 FO)

Second Star: Jaden Schwartz (2 G, 5 SOG, +2)

Third Star: Jordan Binnington (30 Saves)

If this series is any indicator of how the rest of the playoffs will go, O’Reilly could be well on his way to another Conn Smythe award. He finished the series with five goals and three assists, scoring the game-winner while adding in assist in Game 7. Each goal seemingly came at an important juncture.

Schwartz followed up his overtime winner in Game 6 with a two-goal performance in Game 7 and really turned it on in the latter portion of the series to help fuel the Blues’ comeback win.

Scoring Summary:

First Period

2:17 Jaden Schwartz (C. Gunnarsson, B. Schenn) 1-0

15:32 Alex DeBrincat (D. Caggiula, D. Keith) 1-1
 
Second Period

10:58 Ivan Barbashev (Z. Sanford, M. Scandella) 2-1

11:21 Adam Boqvist (D. Strome, D. Keith) 2-2

15:06 PP Ryan O’Reilly (B. Schenn) 3-2

Third Period

2:49 Jaden Schwartz (R. O’Reilly, A. Pietrangelo) 4-2

19:47 Jonathan Toews (B. Saad, A. DeBrincat) 2-2

19:50 Robert Thomas (Unassisted) 5-2

RELATED: Andrew Ladd and Kris Versteeg weigh in on Dustin Byfuglien's NHL future

Box score:

Shots on goal

Chicago: 32

St. Louis: 30

It wasn’t a bad effort from the Blackhawks, but in the end the Blues depth was just a little more impactful. The Blackhawks took the “nuclear option” with their line combinations but the Kubalik-Toews-Kane trio was shut down, not generating any goal scoring in Game 7.

Your best players need to stand out in Game 7s. The Blues got that from O’Reilly and Schwartz; the Hawks did not from Kane and Toews.

Goalies

Corey Crawford 25/29, .862 SV% (2.84 GAA, .890 SV% in series)

Jordan Binnington 30/32, .938 SV% (2.97 GAA, .899 SV% in series)

While Crawford starred in Games 2-4, Binnington a force in Games 5-7, recording an amazing .942 SV% against the underdog Blackhawks. It’s not that Crawford was bad late in the series, but Binnington played at a Conn Smyth level and was the biggest difference between the two teams. 

Power play

Chicago: 0-1 (0-9 in series)

St. Louis: 1-1 (5-9 in series)

If there is ever a perfect example for how important special teams are in the playoffs, look no further than this series. The Blackhawks took the West’s best on the brink of elimination and had it tied 2-2 late on the road in Game 7 without recording a single power play goal in the series. Had they just been minimally better on both special teams, it’s very likely we would be previewing their second round matchup right now instead of wondering what could have been. 

Series MVPs

Chicago: Alex DeBrincat

St. Louis: Jordan Binnington

Despite O’Reilly’s huge performance, Alex DeBrincat led all scorers this series. After slumping much of the regular season, The Cat shined with the lights on bright, chipping in three goals and seven assists for the Hawks in his first playoff action.

While Chicago might not be advancing this season, DeBrincat’s performance bodes well for what's to come from the budding star in future playoff series. As for the Blues, you could have picked O’Reilly and it would be hard to disagree, but Binnington’s effort in Games 5-7 ultimately decided the series.

The Hawks still found ways to win Games 2-4 with O’Reilly buzzing, but when Binnington turned it on late in the series, the Hawks had no answers. Chicago has some positives to build on heading into the offseason, but no doubt there will be some wondering of what could have been after squandering their 3-1 series lead.

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NHL 20 sim: Blackhawks defense shines, puts Blues on brink of elimination

NHL 20 sim: Blackhawks defense shines, puts Blues on brink of elimination

Game 4: Blackhawks vs. Blues (April 15)

Result: Blackhawks win 2-1 (Blackhawks lead series 3-1)

Three Stars:
 
First Star: Connor Murphy (1 G, 1 A, +2)
Second Star: Corey Crawford (21 Saves)
Third Star: Jonathan Toews (1 G, +1, 3 SOG, 9-15 FO)

While Olli Maatta had been a big offensive contributor from the back end in games prior, Game 4 was Connor Murphy’s turn to chip in from the blue line. He factored in on both goals and paced a Blackhawks defense that allowed just one goal and only 22 shots. Crawford and Toews stepped up in big moments like they have in past playoff games, pushing the Blues to the brink of elimination.

Scoring Summary:

First Period

4:35 Connor Murphy (A. Nylander, P. Kane) 1-0
10:20 SH Alex Pietrangelo (I. Barbashev) 1-1
 
Second Period

2:45 Jonathan Toews (A. Debrincat, C. Murphy) 2-1

Third Period

No Scoring

RELATED: Patrick Kane on self-isolation, Artemi Panarin and message to Blackhawks fans

Box score:

Shots on goal

St. Louis: 22

Chicago: 29

The Blackhawks defense stepped up yet again, allowing just 22 shots on goal for the second time in the last three games. The high-powered Blues offense has been held in check since their Game 1 eruption by a Blackhawks defense clicking at the right time. The Blackhawks' first line came through once more, as Toews notched the game-winning goal, making it 18 combined points in the last four games for the Saad-Toews-DeBrincat line.
 
Goalies

Jordan Binnington 27/29 (.931 SV%)

Corey Crawford: 21/22 (.955 SV%)

Both goalies turned in their best efforts of the series. While Crawford has been at his best since the Game 1 letdown, the Blues were waiting for Binnington to look like the goalie that carried them to a Cup last season. They finally got that effort today, as Binnington put in his best game of the series but it still wasn’t enough as Crawford outdueled him
 
Power play

St. Louis: 0-0

Chicago: 0-3 (SHG allowed)

For the first time in the series, the Hawks finally got a heavy advantage on the power play but still failed to cash in. They came up empty on all three power play chances in this game and are still looking for their first tally with the man advantage for the series, failing to score in seven chances. The Blues' penalty kill was a huge asset in Game 4 and gave them their only source of offense on the night.
 
Notable Blackhawks performances

Alex Nylander (Assist)
Alex DeBrincat (Assist)
Patrick Kane (Assists )
All six defensemen 

Patrick Kane and Nylander both assisted on the opening tally of the game. Kane had been silent since Game 1 and Nylander’s hot streak seemed to be flaming out, so getting these two back on the score sheet is huge, if the Blackhawks want to pull off the upset.

The Blackhawks’ red-hot top line continued their dominance as DeBrincat and Toews combined for the game-winning goal. Lastly, the Hawks' defense, which had been much-maligned all season, stepped up yet again, allowing just 22 shots on net. With the exception of a shorthanded goal allowed, the Hawks blue line completely shut down one of the most potent offenses in hockey.

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