The heat was on in St. Louis, hours before puck drop. The Blues returned home, failing to find a win at the United Center, and allowing the Blackhawks to even the series. They returned home to a Scottrade Center with a large amount of red and white. Coming in, the Blackhawks were 8-1 in Game Fives since 2010.
The Blackhawks’ early momentum was killed by a Duncan Keith penalty, followed by a rare trip to the box by Marian Hossa. Both penalties were killed off, and by the mid-way point of the first period, the Blues had only managed one shot on goal, despite the two power-plays.
The Blackhawks resumed their dominance at even strength, and it was only a matter of time before they struck. After a bad pinch by Blues defenseman Roman Polak, Bryan Bickell sent the puck to Marian Hossa, who wasted no time cleaning up his own rebound, giving the Blackhawks the 1-0 lead. The Blues staved off the ‘Hawks offense on a late penalty by Alexander Steen, and Chicago headed to the dressing room up 1-0 after the first period.
The Blackhawks started the first half of the second period with an excellent trap game, holding the Blues in their own end for nearly all 10 minutes. The Blues would push back, however, and after Jonathan Toews was taken out of the play, T.J. Oshie scored on the rebound, his first point of the series.
The Blackhawks and Blues traded offensive pressure, with both squads getting solid chances in the final five minutes of the period. Ben Smith would be the one to strike, scoring a back-hand off another rebound, giving the ‘Hawks a 2-1 lead they held into the intermission.
The Blues wouldn’t take long scoring the equalizer in the third period. Alex Pietrangelo jumped up in the rush, and on a two-on-one, he finished a pass from Jaydan Swartz to tie the game. The next 18 minutes were pure nerve-wracking for both teams’ supporters, but thanks to several great saves by both goaltenders, the series would see it’s fourth overtime in just five games.
It was a quick and hard overtime, with both teams having chances to end it. In the end, it was a swat by Duncan Keith in the Blackhawks’ zone that ended up on the tape of captain Jonathan Toews, with no one in front of him. Toews made no mistake on the break-away, and scored the game-winner, as the Blackhawks took Game Five.
No surprise, Alex Pietrangelo and Duncan Keith were the teams’ respective ice-time leaders, with 27:47 and 29:00 respectively.
Vladimir Sobotka was bulletproof at the dot, with 15 wins and an 88% percentage. Hero Toews was the Blackhawks’ leader, at 60%.
David Backes was not himself during the game, but logged an impressive 21 minutes in ice time, with a game-high 8 hits, and a -2 rating.
Hossa’s first-period goal was the first of his series, on 25 shots. The next Blackhawk with the most shots and no goals: Patrick Sharp, with 21.
The Blackhawks now have an opportunity to close out the series on Sunday afternoon from the United Center. Puck drop is slated for 2:00 PM on NBCSN.
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