Friday, April 22, 2016

Blackhawks stave off elimination with 4-3 double-OT win against Blues

Kane nets winner after St. Louis storms back in third period, keeping series alive

ST. LOUIS -- The Blues poured all they had into the third period and overtime of Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blues had the defending champions on the ropes with a chance to close them out in five games, where the Blues came in with a perfect 5-0 record all-time at home with a chance to win a series.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Defensemen Jay Bouwmeester (left) looks on as teammate Alex
Pietrangelo moves the puck past Chicago's Patrick Kane on Thursday.

Then Patrick Kane, who felt like the start of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs was not going well for him, happened.

Redemption came in the form of a clutch goal when Kane scored 3 minutes 7 seconds into the second overtime and the Blackhawks staved off elimination with a 4-3 victory against the Blues on Thursday at Scottrade Center. 

Kane collected a loose puck at the side of the net after it squirted past Blues goalie Brian Elliott following Kane's initial shot after he deked by Troy Brouwer and slid a back in once he skated around the net.

"I tried to make a move around a guy who was maybe trying to block my shot," Kane said. "Made a move, saw the puck and tried to get one on net there. Fortunately enough it kind of squeaked out to the other side.

"I don't think I was very good in that first overtime or very good at all tonight. It's one of those things I tried to tell myself just to get confidence going into that fifth period and try to make some plays."

The Blues lead the best-of-7 series 3-2, with Game 6 at United Center on Saturday (7 p.m. on NBC and KYKY 98.1 FM).

"He’s a clutch player," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of Kane, who scored his 49th NHL playoff goal. "Obviously he’s a great player. Not a lot of guys can do what he did or does. Couple of those spin moves tonight were dangerous and he stuck with it on the other side of the net, so obviously you have to give him credit. He’s special and he’s special with everything on the line as well." 

Kane initially worked around defenseman Jay Bouwmeester, then eventually got the puck back from Panik.

"He was opportunistic, obviously, on the overtime goal," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Kane.

The Blues, who came into the game with a 3-1 series lead, rallied from a 3-1 deficit and forced overtime with third-period goals by Robby Fabbri and David Backes. Jaden Schwartz had a second-period power-play goal, and Elliott finished with 31 saves.

The Blues had the belief that they were going to win, especially after the surge in the third to tie it and in the first overtime.

"You've got to have that belief," Schwartz said. "It could have gone either way. Chances both ways. When it gets to overtime, anything can happen. Obviously we had the belief that we were going to win, but we've got to bounce back here and get ready for the next game."  

Marian Hossa, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin scored second-period goals for the Blackhawks, who got 43 saves from Corey Crawford.

Crawford's best save of the overtime came on a tight-in angle from Alexander Steen.

Since 2009, the Blackhawks are 12-4 when facing elimination and 44-15 in games 4-7 of all series.

"Obviously it feels good," said defenseman Duncan Keith, who logged a game-high 42 minutes. "I don’t know if that’s the way we drew it up. It would have been nice to just hang on to that lead. But (Kane) came through and I thought they probably carried a lot of the play there in the first overtime. But it just matters that we got the goal." 

The Blues lost for the first time in franchise history (5-1) when holding a 3-1 series lead with a chance to clinch on home ice.

"I thought we played a really good first period," Hitchcock said. "They had a surge a little bit in the second for about seven or eight minutes. We played great in the third, great in the overtime. Played a hell of a hockey game."

Fabbri cut Chicago's lead to 3-2 when he cut around defenseman Brent Seabrook to the slot and beat Crawford to the short side at 6:57 after taking outlet Alex Pietrangelo's pass. 

Backes made it 3-3 with 5:10 remaining. He was between the hash marks in the slot when he deflected Pietrangelo's straightaway wrist shot from inside the blue like past Crawford.

"I thought we outplayed them," said Pietrangelo, who had three assists. "Chances were there. We've just got to find the back of the net. Like I said, still up 3-2 and we won the last two there, so more of the same."

Hossa put the Blackhawks on top 1-0 at 11:32 of the second period when he was sprung by Niklas Hjalmarsson on a 2-on-1 shorthanded break after Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk tried rimming the puck around in the corner. Hossa went in with Keith, kept the puck and beat Elliott to the short side off the post for his 50th playoff goal. 
(St. Louis Blues photo)
The Blues' Robby Fabbri celebrates his third-period goal that helped them
overcome a 3-1 deficit before losing in double overtime.

But with Anisimov still off for tripping, Schwartz tied it at 12:29 with his third power-play goal in as many games. He took an outlet pass from Pietrangelo and beat Crawford from the left circle to the glove side. 

But Chicago scored twice late in the period to go up 3-1. Anisimov followed up Panarin's shot from the left circle and popped it in at 15:24 after Elliott couldn't handle the rebound. Panarin scored with 0.4 seconds left after the Blues won a defensive zone faceoff but Kane checked Bouwmeester off the puck before getting it from Jonathan Toews and feeding Panarin for the slap shot high short side from the slot. 

"They get to play too," Hitchcock said of the Blackhawks. "They won some board battles. They were having a high sense of desperation."

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