Blackhawks lose in Luke Richardson’s first coaching matchup against Martin St. Louis

Richardson, as Hawks coach, and St. Louis, as Canadiens coach, have remained friends despite their career divergences. But St. Louis came out on top in their first coaching matchup Friday.

SHARE Blackhawks lose in Luke Richardson’s first coaching matchup against Martin St. Louis
Luke Richardson coaches the Blackhawks on Friday.

Luke Richardson’s first matchup as Blackhawks coach against the Canadiens, where he was formerly an assistant, ended in a shootout loss Friday.

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

Luke Richardson’s success as a Canadiens assistant the previous four seasons led to him earning his job as Blackhawks coach.

However, he was passed over this past spring for the Canadiens’ own head-coaching job, with Martin St. Louis instead assuming those duties after Dominique Ducharme was fired. Richardson was passed over in 2021, too, when Ducharme replaced Claude Julien.

So, naturally, Friday’s game between the Hawks and Canadiens carried extra meaning for Richardson, even after he tried his best all week to downplay its significance.

“I enjoyed my time [in Montreal],” he said Monday. “It’s a great, passionate city, much like [Chicago], with great sports fans. There’s a lot of history there. I was fortunate enough to be there when we got to the Stanley Cup Final, and it was an honor to do that. But it’s now in the past. It’s a good memory, but they’re just another team we want to beat.’

It didn’t happen, as former Hawk Kirby Dach’s goal in the third round of a shootout lifted the Canadiens to a 3-2 victory and gave the Hawks their sixth straight loss (and 12th in their last 14 games).

The Hawks outshot the Canadiens 32-23, the largest margin by which they’ve outshot any opponent this season, but conceded quite a few breakaways and odd-man rushes in between. Goalie Arvid Soderblom was stellar, particularly with his quick glove hand, while limiting the damage from those breakdowns.

Forward Taylor Raddysh scored a power-play goal to tie the game with just under four minutes left, and the Hawks later killed off a Canadiens overtime power play, but their efforts were ultimately unrewarded.

“We had a little trouble with our energy level,” Richardson said. “I liked the try, but it just didn’t look like we had the legs there. Maybe [it was] a little bit of the games catching up to us.”

Hawks_Canadiens.jpg

The Blackhawks outshot the Canadiens 32-23.

Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Richardson and St. Louis have remained friends since Richardson left Montreal. St. Louis said they brainstormed together during the summer on how to build their new teams’ training camp schedules. Richardson praised St. Louis’ willingness to give his players freedom to be “active and creative.”

Lafferty sidelined

Winger Sam Lafferty didn’t play because of an upper-body injury he suffered Wednesday against the Stars. Richardson said he could miss a couple of games, but the Hawks don’t believe it’ll be a long-term issue.

The break could actually be helpful for Lafferty, who has been somewhat invisible in recent weeks. He was mired in a 10-game points-less streak, during which he dropped into a fourth-line center role and took only nine shots on goal.

Other than two excellent performances in the Hawks’ third and fourth games of the season against the Sharks and Red Wings, Lafferty generally has been much quieter this year after impressing in the second half last season. His spring surge earned him a two-year extension that kicked in this season.

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