CHICAGO — They earned a point. Maybe the Blues didn’t deserve one, but they found a way to get a point in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday at United Center.
But was it a good point or a bad point? Depends on how one looks at it for the Blues (1-1-2), who somehow gained a lead in the third period after being dominated in the first and falling behind by two goals.
Brayden Schenn scored twice, and David Perron scored his fourth goal in two games to put the Blues on the verge of somehow stealing a regulation win in a tough environment.
But for the second time against the Blackhawks (3-0-2) this season, the Blues squandered a third-period lead and lost to the Hawks, who set an NHL record with their fifth straight OT game to begin a season.
Pat Maroon, who owned up to a mistake on a stretch pass late in the third period that was picked off by Duncan Keith, playing in his 1,000th NHL game, and put home by Alex DeBrincat, who scored the OT winner with nine seconds remaining, with 6 minutes, 54 seconds left that tied the game 3-3.
“Obviously it wasn’t the right play,” Maroon said. “It was in the back of the net. … Got a man up, I thought he was gone, I thought he was open. I figured if I just move my feet, there was someone coming behind me. I was just trying to get the puck and advance the puck. Unfortunately, I left my teammates out to dry, but just bounce back I guess tomorrow.
“It’s a 3-2 game with, what, like eight minutes left. Kind of make a bonehead play. Gotta be smarter than that. They were changing and I thought O’Reilly was kind of gone and Keith made a good play by pinching up, and then we were making a change too. It came right back down on us. It could be different if I don’t make that play, but you never know. I man up to it now. Got a chance to win a hockey game tomorrow.”
Blues teammates and coach Mike Yeo appreciated that he owned up to what happened but defended him, too.
“That’s going to happen; that’s hockey,” Schenn said. “He sees a play. D-man steps up on it. I think obviously he’s a stand-up guy, but that one’s not on him at all. I think the game could have been a lot worse. We’ve got to regroup for tomorrow, tighten up defensively and play harder for our goalies because they’re bailing us out right now.”
“I like that he did (take ownership),” Yeo said of Maroon. “Certainly not going to pin this just on him. There were many mistakes like that in the game. Those are mistakes that are tough to make at that time of the game. But also mistakes happen and I don’t think we reacted very well either. We were still possibly in a good position to defend it. I like that he took that ownership. If we have more of that ownership, we’ll make fewer of those mistakes and obviously that’s a big part of the success.”
The Blues were bombarded early, and Jake Allen, who made a career-high 46 saves in the loss, kept the Blues within striking distance after they were hit with penalty after penalty in the first period, three in all. Chicago didn’t score on the first, it came as time expired but it felt like one scored by Artem Anisimov at 11:51 and Patrick Kane scored a second power-play goal at 16:01 to give Chicago, which outshot St. Louis 23-10 in the first period, a 2-0 lead.
“We took penalties. I thought 5-on-5 even in the first, we were fine,” Perron said. “… We got some power plays and we did a good job to battle back and get a point. It would be nice to get two. There’s another one tomorrow. There were some good parts for sure.”
But for the Blues, they’ve allowed five, five, three and four goals this season. That won’t cut it.
“We can’t be allowing four or five goals a night. We’ve got to play defense,” Maroon said. “That should be our first priority, playing in a five-man zone. Good things from defense leads to good offense. ‘Jakey’ stood tall again tonight. He’s been playing really good. We’ve got to be better defensively. We’ve got a good group in here. I think guys are upbeat. I think my goal kind of cost us.”
“Nine minutes left, we’ve got to do a better job,” Schenn said. “We showed some fight. We were able to score some goals and fight back in that game and get ahead, but at the end of the day, we gave them too many chances again. We’ve got to tighten up our defensive game. Jake’s been unbelievable for us the past two games and kind of leaving him hanging out to dry. We’ve got to find ways to stop giving up the Grade A chances and know good defense will lead to good offense.”
Schenn gave the Blues some life when he scored from the high slot at 12:35 of the second, making it a 2-1 game. It was set up on a solid, patient play by Jordan Schmaltz, who was facing his younger brother Nick tonight for the first time in an NHL regular-season game.
The Blues’ power-play, which is 6-for-16 in the past three games, got to work and Perron tied it 2-2 just 1:44 into the third when Blackhawks goalie Cam Ward played a puck off defenseman Brandon Manning’s skate into the slot, and Perron deposited the shot upstairs.
And Schenn gave the Blues their first lead of the night at 3-2 at 4:47 when Colton Parayko, who had a tough first period, battled along the boards with Perron, and Alexander Steen was able to poke a puck to Schenn. He stepped into a shot from the right circle and beat Ward five-hole.
The Blues weren’t able to sustain the lead.
“It was unfortunate we had the lead with I don’t know how many minutes left in the third to get it overtime, but we found a way to get something to take out of it and I think there’s definitely things,” Allen said. “… It’s tough to lose another one in OT to them, but we got a point, again. I said this earlier in the year, it’s not what we want, but we still got a point. A point made a difference last year. We’ll take it now and move on. But they definitely got the best of us the last two times.”
For Allen, all that can be asked of a goalie is to give the team a chance, and he did just that.
“He was sensational, outstanding, whatever you want to say,” Yeo said. “He was the reason why we got a point, he was the reason we battled back in the game and disappointing not to get that second point for him. We have to do a better job for him. It’s got to be more important that what he’s doing and the way he’s battling, it’s got to be more important for us that we do everything we can to help him.”