ST. LOUIS -- On the plus side, the Chicago Blackhawks extended their unbeaten-in-regulation streak to six games at 4-0-2.
On the down side, you’d really need to look through rose-colored glasses to see that positive Saturday night at Scottrade Center.
The Blackhawks’ 6-5 shootout loss to the St. Louis Blues had all the feelings of a, well, loss. It’s as pure and simple as that. Three times the Blackhawks had two-goal leads, and three times they let the Blues come back -- twice to tie the score.
"It’s pretty disappointing when you give up two-goal leads," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said, simply.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville described the shootout loss as "a tough one there." He noted the loud crowd -- 20,282, standing room only -- and the intensity of the teams, labeling the game as "good for the sport, tough for us."
Indeed. Kevin Shattenkirk scored the winner in the sixth round of shootouts, but this game was actually lost in a span of 1 minute, 17 seconds late in regulation time, when Chicago coughed up a 5-3 lead.
Vladimir Tarasenko, who also scored in the shootout, lit the red lamp with 3:51 to play, then assisted on Patrik Berglund’s power-play goal with 2:34 left to tie the score at five. Tarasenko finished with three points -- a goal and two assists.
"Of course, it’s frustrating," said Chicago forward Patrick Kane, who extended his points streak to a career-best 14 games with a goal and two assists. "We'll try to improve on that and try to make sure it doesn't happen the next time, but with that being said, it's 5-3 with a couple minutes left and they got all the momentum. We got a point, so I guess that's one positive you can take from it."
The Blackhawks improved to 27-7-7 for 61 points, tied with the Anaheim Ducks for first overall. However, they are 0-1-2 against the Blues this season, having fallen twice in shootouts. The Blues improved to 25-7-5 for 55 points.
"Every game has been tight, competitive, exciting," Quenneville said, adding, "They’re a good hockey team. We have a good hockey team over here. That’s what we’re faced with. I expect to be in a race the whole time."
It looked like Chicago would win the race easily when it jumped to a quick 2-0 lead midway through the first period, with goals in a span of 2:07, and a 3-1 advantage by the end of 20 minutes.
Patrick Sharp scored the first goal on a break-in after splitting the Blues D and tucking a backhand past Jaroslav Halak at 7:48. Then, at 9:55, Andrew Shaw dived to knock in the puck after it trickled through Halak’s wickets following Kane’s deflection of Keith’s point shot. Later, Kane restored the Blackhawks' two-goal lead with his 23rd of the season exactly three minutes after Maxim Lapierre cut the Blackhawks lead to 2-1.
Things appeared to be going in Chicago’s direction, but Brian Elliott relieved Halak for the start of the second period and the energized Blues got goals from Jaden Schwartz and Dmitrij Jaskin -- his first in the NHL -- to tie it at three.
"They found their legs in the second and third periods and really pressed," Blackhawks defenseman Kris Versteeg said. "It's tough when you give up the extra point, but you’ve got to move on. It's frustrating against anyone. They push all game. They don't give up."
Chicago missed a glorious chance to win it in the overtime when Elliott slid sharply to his right to stop Jonathan Toews on a breakaway. In the shootout, T.J. Oshie and Tarasenko for the Blues and Toews and Sharp for the Blackhawks scored in the first two rounds. That was all of the scoring until Shattenkirk’s winner. He also won a game with a shootout goal April 4 last season at Chicago.
"It was a competitive game," Quenneville said. "They really turned it up in the second period and we didn't have the great response that we needed, but we're still in pretty good shape."