How it happened: St. Louis did what it wanted in building a 3-0 two-period lead. They scored 5-on-5, on the power play and shorthanded. The former two came in the first period, where the Blues have only given up 36 goals all season. The Hawks had four shots in the opening 20 minutes, including none in the final 9:08. The game was basically over after that. Patrick Sharp hit the post in the first and the Hawks had a couple chances on the power play in the second, but they couldn’t manage a goal until early in the third when Andrew Brunette redirected a Brent Seabrook shot for his 10th goal of the season. The Hawks had some momentum and a power-play chance soon after that goal, but couldn’t manage to get within one. The Blues’ Andy McDonald added a third-period score and then, with seconds remaining, Jason Arnott delivered the dagger.
What it means: When looked at as part of the bigger picture of the Hawks’ just completed 2-1 road trip, the loss isn’t so bad. However, the compete level simply wasn’t there, especially from Marian Hossa. He gave pucks away and fought it all night long. He was on the ice -- and in the middle of a lot of the action -- for the first three Blues’ goals. Did the Hawks rest on the laurels of their three-game win streak? It’s possible. The Blues’ style doesn’t favor Chicago but the Hawks have played St. Louis much better in three previous contests this season. That lack of compete contributed to being on the losing end of the special teams battle, as the Hawks gave up goals shorthanded and on the power play while going scoreless with the man advantage. Considering they had won their last three games, simply calling it an off-night might be the right thing to do. But the lack of compete early on can’t sit well with coach Joel Quenneville or Blackhawks fans. They fell to 36-25-7.
What’s next: The Hawks return to Chicago for a three-game homestand, beginning with the New York Rangers on Friday at the United Center.