Blackhawks lose to Blues, finish October winlessBen Popeon October 31, 2021 at 2:36 am

Marc-Andre Fleury saved 36 shots but the Blackhawks still lost Saturday. | AP Photos

The Hawks’ 1-0 loss Saturday, in spite of Marc-Andre Fleury’s heroics, marked their ninth in nine games this month.

ST. LOUIS — Jake McCabe is “extremely” tired of losing.

In six full seasons in Buffalo, the Sabres never once made the playoffs. This year, the Sabres are off to a shocking 5-1-1 start — but McCabe is now on the Blackhawks, who extended their season-opening losing streak to nine consecutive games with a 1-0 defeat against the Blues on Saturday.

“Frankly, each guy has to look at themselves in the mirror,” McCabe said. “What do we have to do better, to a man? And [then] we have to bring that.

“Obviously, we’re lacking confidence right now from this start. You just have to really keep that picture very, very small throughout the game, and focus on a shift-by-shift mentality…and build your game through the 60 minutes that way.”

The Hawks had a very real chance to finally earn that first victory Saturday and avoid a winless October. They entered the third period tied 0-0, needing only 20 solid minutes — a much easier task than 60 solid minutes. And Marc-Andre Fleury finally looked like himself, saving 36 of 37 shots after posting an awful .839 save percentage in his first four Hawks starts.

But the Blues’ Torey Krug finally dented Fleury on the second of two Blues’ power plays early in the third, and the Hawks never truly even threatened to equalize.

Outside of the goalie position, Hawks fielded the only 18-man roster of skaters they could. Tyler Johnson missed the game with “neck soreness” after his injury Friday, leaving the Hawks no spare players with four guys — including Patrick Kane — still on the COVID-19 list.

Bettman meets with Beach

Kyle Beach, the former Blackhawks player allegedly sexually assaulted in 2010, met Saturday with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHL Players’ Association director Donald Fehr.

Beach and Bettman discussed ways the NHL can improve its sexual abuse resources moving forward after Bettman apologized for the league’s failure to protect Beach from former Hawks video coach Brad Aldrich, the AP reported.

Beach and Fehr, meanwhile, discussed potential needed modifications in the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program, the AP reported.

Fehr has come under fire this week for not taking action in 2010 even though the NHLPA was allegedly notified several times of Aldrich’s actions, casting the 73-year-old’s future as the association’s leader into question.

Phillips debuts early

When Isaak Phillips learned Thursday he was about to receive his first career NHL call-up, the Blackhawks prospect defensemen immediately phoned his mom at home in the Toronto suburbs.

“I asked where she was and if she was with my dad, and then I conference-called my dad in and I asked them if they were working,” Phillips said with a beaming smile. “I said, ‘You’re going to have to book a flight down to Carolina.’ They were obviously really happy. They were like, ‘What’s going on? This is crazy.’ It was really an eventful day.”

By skating 11 minutes in the Hawks’ loss to the Hurricanes on Friday — then playing again Saturday — Phillips made history as the first Team Jamaica hockey alumnus to play in the NHL.

Phillips’ rise has been incredibly fast as a fifth-round pick in the 2020 draft, barely over a year ago. He became just the 13th player from that draft class to debut, and 11 of the first 12 were picked in the top 26. Phillips, by comparison, was picked 141st.

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