The Blackhawks allowed four unanswered goals in a 4-2 loss to the Blues on Monday in Traverse City, Michigan. Chicago was without its top two prospects in defenseman Adam Boqvist and center Kirby Dach as Rockford head coach Derek King opted to give the duo an extra day off and give other players some ice time after the team was eliminated from championship contention following Saturday’s loss.
Mikael Hakkarainen and Michal Teply each had a goal and an assist against St. Louis. Chase Marchand, who is on an AHL contract with the Rockford IceHogs, stopped 21 of 24 shots in net.
Nikita Alexandrov scored a power-play goal to start St. Louis’ rally in the second period then Klim Kostin and River Rymsha added scores at even strength in the third and Mitch Reinke tallied an empty-netter with 2 seconds remaining in the game.
The Blackhawks finished fourth in the Gordie Howe Division and will face the Wild from the Ted Lindsay Division in the seventh-place game at 11 a.m. Tuesday. King said he expects Boqvist and Dach to play in the game, but wasn’t confident.
Monday’s game started a bit chippy thanks to free-agent invitee Riley McKay, who committed a tripping penalty 55 seconds into the game then dropped the glove against Keean Washkurak less than 5 minutes later. With the game at 4-on-4, Teply collected the puck at the blue line and sent a pass to Cole Moberg, who fired a one-timer to the net that deflected off Hakkarainen and into the net for a 1-0 lead at 6:51.
Less than 3 minutes later, Hakkarainen stole the puck from Jake Christiansen in the neutral zone, drove to the net but his shot was stopped Joel Hofer, who gave up a rebound that Teply put in for a two-goal advantage.
Alexandrov put the Blues on the scoreboard at 13:20 in the second period when he capitalized on Dennis Gilbert’s slashing penalty with a blast from the right faceoff circle past Marchand.
It was a rough third period for Chicago, who allowed three goals and were out-shot 15-2 in the final frame.
McKay tried to be too cute with a backhanded, cross-ice pass attempt to Hakkarainen in the offensive zone that was intercepted by Nolan Stevens, who sent a feed past Reese Johnson to spring Kostin on a breakaway to tie it 2-2 at 4:53.
Rymsha scored the eventual game-winner with 58 seconds left on a shot from the near boards. Alexandrov went to the penalty box for tripping to give the Blackhawks 32 seconds on the man advantage, but they were unable to generate much of anything.
Liam Coughlin had some good moments in the game, winning faceoffs and being active in puck battles… Hakkarainen was active throughout the game, but at times wasn’t disciplined and found himself out of position… Moberg probably had his best game defensively with good positioning against rush attempts by the Blues into the offensive zone… Speaking of defensemen, Nicolas Beaudin was active with his stick to break up a few rushes himself and his backward skating looked better, too… With Dach out Entwistle was elevated to the top-line center role, but seemed invisible and unable to create offense for himself or linemates.
Here’s the schedule for Tuesday’s games.
Seventh-place game: Blackhawks vs. Wild, 11 a.m. (Davids Rink)
Fifth-place game: Blues vs. Rangers, 11:30 a.m. (West Rink)
Third-place game: Maple Leafs vs. Blue Jackets, 2:30 p.m. (Davids Rink)
Championship game: Red Wings vs. Stars, 4 p.m. (West Rink)