#3- 2014: Blackhawks vs. Blues
Apr 27, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) scores past St. Louis Blues goalieRyan Miller
(39) with defensemanKevin Shattenkirk
(22) pursuing during the third period in game six of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. Chicago won 5-1 to take the series 4 games to 1. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues have had a storied rivalry, and with the intense competition in the Central Division, it has done nothing but escalate over the past few years. It seemed a playoff match-up was inevitable, but when the ‘Hawks drew the Blues in the first round of last year’s playoffs, it caught many by surprise: the new Wild Card format meant that one Central Division heavyweight would see their season come to an end less than a quarter of the way to the Stanley Cup.
As Game One got underway from the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, many settled into their seats, not knowing just how long they would remain there. In typical Blackhawks’ first-round fashion, this back-and-forth game couldn’t be solved in regulation time.
Or a single overtime.
Or a double overtime.
However, the lead that the Blackhawks had held for most of the game, which was erased by a late third-period goal by Jaden Schwartz, was the closest either team would come to winning the game, until Alexander Steen finally ended the marathon opening game in triple overtime, giving the Blues the 1-0 series lead with his goal just 26 seconds into the sixth period.
With the Blues looking to extend the series lead on home ice before heading to Chicago, St. Louis jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in Game Two. However, three straight goals by Blackhawks’ defensemen (Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, and Michal Roszival) gave the ‘Hawks a 3-2 lead with time winding down. Unfortunately, the ‘Hawks lead was again, not built to last, as Vladimir Tarasenko evened the score on the power-play with less than 60 seconds remaining. For a second straight game, the two teams couldn’t find a winner in regulation.
This time, it wouldn’t take as long for the two teams to find a result, but it would be the same as Game One. Barrett Jackman was the hero for the Blues at 5:50 in the over-time period, giving St. Louis the dreadful 2-0 series lead.
The United Center was the site for Game Three, a rocking affair that did not disappoint the Blackhawks’ faithful. Jonathan Toews’ early goal was in fact, all the Blackhawks needed, as Corey Crawford shut out St. Louis with a miraculous 34-save effort. Marcus Kruger added the empty-netter for the ‘Hawks, who avoided going down 3-0 in the series, and gave themselves a chance to tie it up at home in Game Four.
It turns out that the ‘Hawks would do just that, two nights later. The Blackhawks jumped out to a 2-0 lead, but after three unanswered St. Louis goals, Chicago was behind the 8-ball once again. With just under 4 minutes remaining in the third period, Bryan Bickell’s goal sent the series to their third over-time in four games, where Patrick Kane played hero for the ‘Hawks, tying the series with his wrist shot from the left side.
The Blackhawks kept that momentum rolling into St. Louis for Game Five, and an early Marian Hossa goal gave the Blackhawks the lead, one they would never surrender. After T.J. Oshie scored to tie it, Ben Smith restored the lead. With Alex Pietrangelo‘s game-tying goal in the third period, and neither team managing to find the net in the 18 minutes that remained, the stage was set for the series’ defining moment.
Cue: Jonathan Toews.
The Blackhawks had no trouble closing out the series in Game Six at home, unleashing a beating on the Blues for a 5-1 win, their fourth straight in the series after being down 2-0. This Blackhawks team relied on their stars to bring home the series victory, and they did not disappoint.