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THREE THINGS: Power Surge, Corey's Time and Still Battling

Three takeaways from Chicago's 6-5 loss to St. Louis on Tuesday night

by Chris Kuc @ChrisKuc / Blackhawks.com

ST. LOUIS - The Blackhawks and Blues traded punches in the latest chapter of their Central Division rivalry and in the end it was the defending Stanley Cup champions that were left standing.

In a game during which the lead changed five times, the Blues came out on top over the Blackhawks 6-5 on Tuesday night in St. Louis.

 "A few different changes in the lead there," said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith, who had a goal and an assist. "We had the lead, they had the lead so back and forth all game. Those are games you'd like to come out on top and obviously that didn't happen. We had a lot of breakdowns defensively and that's the game."

Zach Sanford had two goals and an assist to lead the Blues' offensive onslaught against Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford. Robert Thomas, Brayden Schenn, Justin Faulk and Ryan O'Reilly also scored for the Blues, who tallied four times in the third period thanks to some ill-timed turnovers by the Blackhawks.

"We can't win consistently until we stamp that kind of a thing out of our game," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said. "They're an extremely disciplined team and I thought we hung with them. (Tuesday night) they were sloppy, too, at times. You give yourself a chance to catch a team and get two points if you're just a little tighter with the puck and a little sharper with the details."

Brandon Saad, Matthew Highmore and Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 27-28-8 on the season.

Video: CHI Recap: Keith scores 100th NHL goal in 6-5 defeat

Here are three takeaways from the Blackhawks' loss:


POWER SURGE

The Blackhawks had a season-high three power-play goals, including scores by Keith, Kane and Saad. It marked the second time during the 2019-20 campaign that the Blackhawks have scored multiple power-play goals - and the first since Nov. 7 against the Canucks.

"That's a good thing for us, no question," Colliton said of the power-play goals. "We haven't been able to get it firing consistently. It seems like we're there. It can help you win games, especially on the road. It got us back into this one and give us a chance to win in the third. We're being clean with the puck, got a shooter's mentality, we got a net front (presence). We're going to need that to continue."

The Blackhawks entered the game ranked last in the NHL on the power play at 14.2 percent and moved into 28th at 15.3 percent following Tuesday's game.

Video: Colliton, Keith and Crawford on 6-5 loss to STL


COREY'S TIME

With Robin Lehner traded to the Golden Knights, it appears the Blackhawks will feature a more traditional goaltending setup with Crawford the clear-cut No. 1 getting the bulk of the starts and newcomer Malcolm Subban serving as backup. Lehner and Crawford basically rotated in goal, with each starting 31 of the Blackhawks' 62 games entering Tuesday night.

"We'll see how things go," Crawford said after Tuesday's game. "One game at a time. I've always said that and nothing has changed but (it's) just work hard in practice and prepare each game."

Said Colliton: "For now, 'Crow' will have the ball and we'll see what he does with it. At this point, it's good to have Malcolm here. We'll see him and he'll get a chance to practice and we'll go from there."

Subban, who served as Marc-Andre Fleury's backup with the Golden Knights, was on the ice for the Blackhawks for Tuesday's morning skate and on the bench during the game in his No. 30 sweater.

"I've heard nothing but great things about this group and coming here, just meeting them first-hand, it's been great - it's been unbelievable," Subban said. "The staff is really nice as well so it's been fun so far. Any time you get an opportunity to play for an Original Six franchise you know it's a huge honor."

Between the two of them, Crawford and Fleury have won five Stanley Cups and Subban said he is looking forward to working with another experienced goaltender.

"Two great goalies, they've won some Cups, so it's great to learn from both of them," Subban said. "Talking to Corey, he's a pretty laid-back guy just like 'Flower' so it's great to get to know him as well."

Video: CHI@STL: Keith hammers PPG for career tally No. 100


STILL BATTLING

With the loss, the Blackhawks remained eight points out of the Western Conference's second wild-card spot and have vowed to keep fighting.

"We're still not out," Crawford said. "This league can be pretty streaky. We've shown we can be streaky. We're definitely not out of it."

Colliton agreed.

"We're still in it," the coach said. "There are a lot of games left and there are a lot of points available. But I've said before, we can't look at that big picture - it's too big. We have to focus on here and now and … we'll worry about the next game when it comes. Focus on our preparation, focus on our performance shift (to) shift, and that puts us in a position to compete.

"Honestly, I think we're doing that," Colliton continued. "I think our guys have played hard. We've come out on the short end of a lot of one-goal games. If I look at this stretch where we haven't got the results, there have been a few periods where we haven't been good and that's cost us points. But by and large, the guys are competing. They're playing for the team and we're improving. We're going to keep holding them accountable and pushing them and demanding we continue with that approach. It's up to them to continue to respond."

Captain Jonathan Toews said the key is to keep a positive attitude no matter where the Blackhawks are in the standings and it is his job to remind his teammates to avoid a letdown.

"No taking any steps back," Toews said. "Stay on your routine, stay on your commitment, keeping that upbeat feel in the locker room and going out there having fun, working hard and putting your best foot forward and getting two points every night."

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