Blues Dominated, Miss Chance to Clinch Central, Lose 4-3 (SO)

The Blues just can’t get it done in Chicago. Something about that building, those colours, that team, and that m**#^&$*@*ing goal song that signify doom for the Note. Whatever it is, it’s an annoying trend. Make no mistake aboot it: the Blackhawks dominated the Blues tonight at the United Center in Chicago, outshooting them 40-20 and winning 4-3 in the shoot out. Yes, the Blues come away with a point, but only on the strength of a 3rd period comeback that, in the grand scheme of the game, was undeserved.

Chicago started the scoring midway through the first on a long wrist shot by Brian Bickell that Jaroslav Halak should have stopped. Alex Steen responded 9 seconds later to tie the game. The 2nd period was sloppy on both sides, but the Blues especially were unfocused and unable to establish a forecheck. So it was unsurprising when the Hawks scored a couple quickies early in the 3rd to build a 3-1 lead.

If there’s one positive from tonight, it’s that the Blues never gave up. Jason Arnott scored on a wraparound midway through the 3rd and then in the last 2 minutes, David Perron tipped home a Kris Russel slapshot to force overtime. Again, the Blackhawks dominated OT but were robbed by several dramatic saves by Jaroslav Halak, the somewhat controversial starter after Brian Elliott’s 3 consecutive shutouts. Halak didn’t disappoint, turning away 7 Chicago shots in overtime, many of them high quality scoring chances.

The shootout…well, who cares? It was scoreless through 3 rounds, some loser for the Blackhawks scored in the 4th round, and Patrick Berglund rang his attempt off the post, and the Blues were denied the chance to clinch the Central Division. They’ll get to try again, this time at home, on Saturday night against the last place Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blues had better start rounding into playoff form, because tonight was bad, and they’ve been inconsistent here down the stretch. Roman Polak’s absence is really hurting this team. When he comes back, a lot of the problems should begin to fix themselves.

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