The Chicago Blackhawks finally managed to hold on to a third-period lead, shutting out the St. Louis Blues 2-0 in Game 3 on Monday night. Despite the win, a number of problems are still evidently plaguing the Blackhawks’ game and will need to be corrected if the team is to win the series.
The predominant issue is that Chicago is still generating significantly less offense than St. Louis, something that was also the case in the first two games. The shots on Monday night were 34-24 in the Blues’ favor, but the gap between the two teams in terms of how threatening they looked offensively was even larger than the shot disparity indicates.
St. Louis owned the third period, with the Blackhawks and Joel Quenneville inexplicably choosing to go back to the 1-2-2 forecheck that cost them Game 1.
Turnovers also remained problematic, and only exacerbated the aforementioned discrepancies on the offensive end. Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp were mostly no-shows; for as good as Michal Handzus (Hossa and Sharp’s center) has been on the penalty kill, he has been equally woeful at even strength.
On the more positive end of things, Corey Crawford had an incredibly strong game. Monday night was as close to defining the phrase “goalie win” as one will find. The Blackhawks dominated the face-off circle, with the Blues clearly missing the injured David Backes. Chicago got a much-needed win in Game 3, but will need to be much better to get on any sort of successful streak.