Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Blackhawks rally late, Blues win in SO

Shattenkirk goal in sixth round pulls 
St. Louis to within one point of Central Division lead

ST. LOUIS -- Knowing his failed clearing attempt led the game-tying goal Wednesday night, Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk wanted redemption.

He got it in the sixth round of the shootout that helped the Blues earn a second point they felt they deserved from the get-go.

Imagine if the intensity of Wednesday's game can duplicate or be better when the Blues and Chicago Blackhawks play in the 2017 Bridgestone Winter Classic, which was officially awarded to St. Louis and Busch Stadium on Wednesday?
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues right wing Troy Brouwer (left) moves in to win a puck battle with
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith Wednesday at Scottrade Center.

Shattenkirk's shootout goal helped the Blues defeat the Blackhawks 3-2 at Scottrade Center before 19,756. 

Shattenkirk beat Chicago goalie Corey Crawford with a wrist shot high to the glove side, and Teuvo Teravainen hit the post trying to tie it for the Blackhawks, who got shootout goals from Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov. The Blues got shootout goals from Patrik Berglund and Troy Brouwer.

But it was Shattenkirk's outlet feed that was picked off at the blue line by Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith that led to Artemi Panarin's game-tying goal with 1:17 remaining to help Chicago get a point.

Scoring in the shootout helped ease some of the tension in the immediate aftermath.

"When I think about that play, it was one where I tried to make a pass to (Vladimir Tarasenko), I handcuffed him with a bad pass," Shattenkirk said. "At that point, it's easy for Keith to keep that puck in. He's got a guy on top of 'Vladi' and he's got all the time in the world. I was a little upset with myself just making kind of a little bit of a panicky play there. But we were able to get back on top of it.

"When there's a minute and a half left, you can kind of get down and I think we were able to finish that period and move into overtime."

And after an overtime in which both teams had quality scoring opportunities, Shattenkirk was able to learn from Brouwer, who scored in the fifth round.

"I think after seeing Troy go, and (Crawford) seemed to give Troy that half of the net, I felt like if I came in at that same angle, I would have to make (Crawford) guess," said Shattenkirk, who came 0-for-6 this season. "And if he gave me that same shot, I was going to take it. But he seemed to be right back in position, so I just tried to freeze him and get the puck above his glove as quickly as possible." 

David Backes and Brouwer scored power-play goals in the third period, and Jake Allen made 33 saves for the Blues (39-20-9), who won their fourth straight and are one point behind the Blackhawks (41-21-6) and Dallas Stars in the Central Division. 

"I thought we played really well," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. I thought we played great in the second period and couldn’t get the first one. We kept up the pressure. The two power-play goals were great. We earned the power plays. … I thought the second period, I can’t say enough about the second period, I thought we played the way we want to play offensively — we created a lot of chances because of it."

Andrew Ladd scored a second-period power-play goal for the Blackhawks, and Crawford made 28 saves.

Ladd thought he had the game-winning goal with 2:52 left in overtime when he followed up Tomas Fleischmann's original shot, but it immediately was waved off because Ladd contacted Allen in the crease before the puck crossed the goal line. 

Backes tied it 1-1 at 8:46 of the third when he tipped Shattenkirk's wrist shot from the point while standing in front of Crawford.

"You’re down one going into the third against one of the top teams in the league and find a way to get two power-play goals, go up 2-1, we’ve got a one-goal lead with 2 minutes left and unfortunately that trend continues where we don’t lock it down," Backes said. "We had a heck of an effort, a lot of sacrifices.

"We’d love to lock that down, win it in regulation and catch these guys but they’ve got good players and we don’t get pucks out or make plays in the defensive zone, they made us play, made us play an extra 5 minutes and how many rounds in the shootout. … Jake was phenomenal. Huge saves when we needed them. Then find a way to get three goals in that shootout and Jake comes up big again."

Brouwer gave the Blues the lead on their third power play in the period when he beat Crawford with a slap shot after taking a feed from Paul Stastny with 6:40 remaining.

"That's where I've made a pretty good living in Washington for quite a long time and we've tried to create a little bit of opportunity to bring that structure of a power play here and Paul did a great job," Brouwer said. "His first look was back door to 'Petro' and it was closed off so a player with that much patience was able to make a second read, get me in, and I got a clean shot from the slot." 

After Keith picked off Shattenkirk's clearing pass near the St. Louis blue line, he fed Jonathan Toews, who gave it to Panarin in the slot for the slap shot to tie it 2-2.

"We made a mistake," Hitchcock said. "We made a mistake on the wall. You hate to keep saying that these are teaching moments, but that's a great teaching moment. If you're going to play that late in the game, there's certain elements that have to be core. We messed up and we'll fix it tomorrow. The guys who are out there, who have to play all the time, they're going to have to figure that out because they're going to go out there and play in critical times."

It was a matchup of the NHL's top penalty kill (Blues) and No. 1 power play (Blackhawks). Chicago went 1-for-4 with the man-advantage. 

The Blackhawks converted on their third power-play opportunity, after Blues forward Ryan Reaves was given a five-minute charging penalty and game misconduct for a hit on defenseman Christian Ehrhoff behind the Chicago net at 17:43 of the first period. 

Ladd scored when he tipped Teravainen's shot from the right faceoff circle past Allen at 1:14 of the second period for a 1-0 Blackhawks lead. 

But the Blues felt by allowing just one goal on the major gave them a confidence boost.

"I think that was the turning point, to be honest," said Allen, who improved to 4-0 in shootouts this season and 8-2 in his career. "... If you get five minutes, you should score a goal, but we stuck with it in the second period, guys played great and we had some chances. Crawford made some big saves for them to keep them in it and we took it to them in the third."
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues forward Patrik Berglund (21) and Blackhawks center Teuvo
Teravainen chase after a loose puck Wednesday at Scottrade Center.

The Blues felt the call on Reaves, who was suspended three games after a Feb. 22 hit on San Jose's Matt Tennyson, was a tough one.

"It was tough; it's a marginal play," Shattenkirk said. "(Ehrhoff) comes back and plays. It definitely wasn't as dangerous a hit as last time, in my mind. 'Revo' hits hard; he's a stronger guy than a lot of guys in this league. A lot of his hits look bad, but he's probably one of the better hitters in the league as far as timing it and knowing how to hit guys. It falls on the player with the puck's shoulders, too. You have to know where guys are. Happy to see him back, not be out of the game with an injury. I think that's something that needs to go into it, how serious it is. For 'Revo' to have to sit out a game and that's his type of game to play, it puts him on his heels now. It's tough. There's a gray area there. We don't want to see Ryan being as aggressive as he is."

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