Saturday, April 16, 2016

Video reviews, challenges go against Blues in 3-2 loss

Blackhawks benefit from overturned goal, score 
late power play goal upheld to even best-of-7 series

ST. LOUIS -- It's going to be tight enough between the Blues and Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference First Round series.

When a game is left in the hands of Toronto, it makes it even more gut-wrenching, especially since the Blues were on the wrong end of a coach's challenge by Chicago, and then weren't the beneficiaries of their own challenge.

In Game 2, a successful challenge by the Blackhawks and an unsuccessful one by the Blues went in Chicago's favor and helped them even the best-of-7 series 1-1. 
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Vladimir Tarasenko scored a goal and had a crucial one taken away that
was large in the Blues' 3-2 loss in Game 2 against the Blackhawks.

Andrew Shaw scored the tie-breaking power play goal with 4 minutes, 19 seconds remaining to give Chicago a 3-2 victory against the Blues at Scottrade Center on Friday.

Game 3 is Sunday at United Center  at 2 p.m.

In a 1-1 game and everything pointing to perhaps a second straight overtime game turned quickly when a Blues overturned goal negated a 2-1 lead, and minutes later, Shaw's goal was upheld following a second review.

The Blues thought they had taken a 2-1 lead with 7:54 remaining in the third period when Vladimir Tarasenko scored from the slot off a pass from Jori Lehtera, but the Blackhawks challenged the play that Lehtera was offside, and the call was reversed after a lengthy delay.

The Blues didn't think so.

"I watched it a couple times and the puck kind of disappears behind Jori and there's a skate in the air or it's on the ice or where's the puck and all those things," Blues captain David Backes said. "I'm obviously a biased individual in what I think happened, but the unbiased guy said -- and they had plenty of time to look at it -- but we've got to take it up another notch and continue to execute and continue to play and they found a way to get on the power play and found a way to get an ugly one."

Coach Ken Hitchcock was more diplomatic.

"When you play the defending Cup champions, you're going to have to fight through a lot of stuff," Hitchcock said. "That's the way it is. I've been there on the other side of things. Calls aren't going to go your way, you're not going to get the officiating you want, it's always going to seem like it's one-sided. Big deal, fight through it.

"If we expect to beat Chicago we're going to have to fight through more than just Chicago. They're a helluva hockey club. They've got a lot of information on how to win. If we expect to beat them we're going to have to be better in a lot of elements and know we're going to get calls that aren't going to go our way."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said he was screaming from the bench to get the officials' attention.

"Someone on the bench yelled 'it’s offside' and we got it late, I was screaming like a crazy man," Quenneville said. "... They give you sometimes the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know what the timeline is. This year, it’s kind of new; I don’t know if there’s a real time limit, but I think they give you time to take a couple of looks at it. 

"A player initially said it was offside. Then you have communication between the coach and video and says check it out, let’s look at it. Had to get the referee’s attention late. ... The offsides ones are the ones that are a little more clear. it’s not the ones at the net with contact. there’s a lot of leeway, a lot of interpretations, but the offsides are pretty straight, cut and dried."

As for the Shaw goal there was some discrepancy there too.

Shaw was on the doorstep of Brent Seabrook's shot from the point and was able to pop a puck in from right in front of goalie Brian Elliott to break a 1-1 tie and even the best-of-7 series at a game apiece.

"I didn’t know if they were going to look at goalie interference or not, but I knew I was crosschecked from behind," Shaw said. "I was confident it was a goal but obviously there was some doubt there as well." 

The Blues challenged the play for goalie interference but the call of a good goal on the ice stood.

"We have to put ourselves in a position where those calls don't make or break the game," Elliott said. "I don't know what the rules are anymore. Every play is so different. It's up to the refs on the ice who make the call, not one person kind of calling everything. I don't know what the call is." 

Enforcer Ryan Reaves was questioning the lack of goalie interference more than anything.

"I mean, the offside is offside. It's cut and dry," Reaves said. "The goalie interference, I thought it was interference. I thought the pad was getting pushed before the puck was going toward the net. The refs see it differently."

Corey Crawford made 29 saves for the Blackhawks. Elliott made 26 saves for the Blues.

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith scored in his return to the lineup after serving a six-game suspension. He played a game-high 30:59 and had a goal and an assist.

Artemi Panarin scored an empty-net goal with 1:26 remaining to make it 3-1.

Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored with 1.1 seconds remaining to make it 3-2.

Tarasenko's seventh goal in the past eight playoff games put the Blues ahead 1-0 after Lehtera forced a defensive zone turnover on Michal Roszival, Jaden Schwartz collected it and fed Tarasenko in the slot for a wrist shot at 15:20 of the second period. It was Tarasenko's 11th playoff goal in 15 games.

Chicago tied it late in the period and ended Elliott's shutout streak in the series at 108:59 when Keith's shot from the right point through a screen beat Elliott with 4.4 seconds remaining. After Backes' icing, Toews won a faceoff from Lehtera, Patrick Kane deflected the puck to the point and Keith used Andrew Shaw for a screen. Kane had two assists.

It was a tough goal to give up at a tough time.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Blues goalie Brian Elliott makes a save on Tomas Fleischmann Friday
at Scottrade Center. 

"It's certainly sub-optimal to give up a goal with eight seconds left, a draw in your zone, find a way to block a shot, win a draw or send it down the ice and put it in your feet and let the time run out, but they executed a decent draw, shot by two guys and I don't think 'Ells' is able to see it," Backes said. "It's in the top corner, but it's another little detail play that all those little things are magnified in the playoffs and that was no different."

The Blues liked their game, but not he result.

"We did play a better game, but in saying that too, we're going to go into the blue area harder, we're going to have to go into Crawford harder, we're going to have to do a lot of things harder to find second and third opportunities," Hitchcock said. "There's a lot of things we can get better at."

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