It’s always a joy to talk about a Chicago Blackhawks win over the St. Louis Blues. They and their fans can justify their 2014 first-round playoff series loss to the Blackhawks however they’d like, but the truth is Chicago didn’t back down when faced with a series deficit and just rolled ahead, as the team typically does.
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Most of the series was tight on the scoreboard, with four of the first five games being decided by one goal and four of them going into extra time. The game that comes next on our countdown of most memorable Blackhawks playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville was not one of those.
Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.
No. 30: 2014 Western Conference first round, Game 6
Chicago Blackhawks 5, St. Louis Blues 1
This outing marked Brent Seabrook‘s first game since being suspended for his hit on David Backes in Game 2 of the series. He’d certainly play a big role in the game, and it likely had Blues fans complaining about why he wasn’t banned from the league.
After Patrik Berglund failed to clear the puck from his team’s defensive zone about four minutes into the game, Bryan Bickell put a shot on Ryan Miller that was turned aside. The puck wound up on the stick of Duncan Keith, who sent it to Seabrook at one point. Seabrook then sent it back over to Keith, who sent it back over to Seabrook. The game of catch ended when Seabs wristed a shot high on net, in the direction of Bickell in front. The big winger got his stick on the puck and redirected it downward and past Miller to get Chicago an early edge.
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A Marcus Kruger hooking penalty a few minutes later gave the Blues a powerplay they couldn’t cash in on. Brandon Saad had a good scoring chance for Chicago with less than seven minutes to go in the first when he had a shot to circle the net for a wraparound. But he get stuck in traffic behind the twine, giving Miller plenty of time to get from side to side.
A failed clearing attempt for the Blackhawks would give the Blues a chance to tie late in the period. Alexander Steen grabbed a puck that had been sent in on Corey Crawford and carried it behind the net. He threw it back in front, where T.J. Oshie was standing. Now, Oshie tapped the puck through Crow to tie the game, but he had no idea he’d scored a goal. Even though everyone much further away from the play knew it.
What am I supposed to do with my hands? (Screenshot from YouTube)
You can actually see him ask his teammates if he scored after the play is over. The Blues are probably lucky they used this offseason to get away from an overrated forward who doesn’t even know what a goal scored looks like.
The first period finished tied at 1, and the Blues would have the first good chance of the second frame. Jonathan Toews was in the box for high sticking, and some nice passing set up Jaden Schwartz for a bid below the circle to Crawford’s left. Crow got over in time to stop Schwartz’s rising shot, then scrambled to stop a rebound chance that appeared to hit the post as well.
Crawford had to turn up with some more big saves on the penalty kill later in the period, as Chicago took five minor penalties to St. Louis’ two in the first 40 minutes. And while there were good chances for both sides in the middle period, nothing really noteworthy happened.
The opposite could be said about the third period. Since the final score was 5-1 and we’re still at 1-1, you know how this goes.
Chicago’s first goal was created by this play:
This one. (Screenshot from YouTube)
After holding the puck in, Keith winged a cross-ice pass down to Toews below the circle to Miller’s left. The puck was rolling when it hit Toews’ stick, requiring a moment for him to settle it down. But the captain took his time to gain control and even skated in a few feet to get a cleaner look at the net. He eventually wired the puck past Miller for what turned out to be the game winner 44 seconds into the final period.
But you can’t rest on your laurels in playoff hockey, so the Blackhawks kept pushing. Not even two minutes later, a defensive-zone draw was won by Patrick Sharp — though only, as Eddie Olczyk points out, after Ben Smith was booted from the circle. Sharp pretty much bulled the puck toward the blue line, where Kevin Shattenkirk was standing. He attempted a slapshot but had it blocked by Sharp’s shinpads. Patrick Kane corralled the loose puck and sent it ahead to Sharp, who had gotten behind Shattenkirk and was off to the races.
What happened next showed how impressive Sharp can be on the offensive. Shattenkirk had little chance to stop Sharp from a breakaway without committing some sort of penalty. So he did … by getting his stick up in Sharp’s face.
That’s not where that’s supposed to be. (Screenshot from YouTube)
Sharp’s head whipped back, and though he didn’t exactly have control of the puck, he got a little extra on it to push it toward the net. At the same time, Miller was coming out for a poke check, leaving him out of position to defend against the rolling puck. Miller’s poke missed the puck, and it wound up skittering into the net to put Chicago ahead 3-1 less than 2:30 into the final period.
Still, the Blackhawks kept pressing. Saad had a puck escape him out in front of Miller, but Michal Rozsival corralled it and sent it back to Keith near the point. Keith let an absolute bomb of a shot go, and Andrew Shaw was all alone right next to the net for a tip-in, leaving Miller shaking his head and putting Chicago ahead by three less than eight minutes into the last 20.
Not content with just beating the Blues, the Blackhawks made sure they were buried late in this one. Shaw and Keith broke in on a 2-on-1, with Shaw passing the puck right in front of the crease to Keith. Though the defenseman was covered and couldn’t get much on his first shot, he managed to bat the puck out of the air on a second chance and still beat Miller, creating the final margin of victory.
The only thing left to watch in this one was whether Backes would try to punt Seabrook in the handshake line. But they seemed to share a moment of understanding as hockey players, quickly shook hands and moved on — Backes to the golf course and Seabrook to more hockey.
Lost in all of this was a solid 35-save effort from Crawford, as Keith (one goal, three assists) and Seabrook (one goal, one assist) more or less stole the show. With this win, the Blues had to start the buses (or plane) and leave the postseason, while the Blackhawks went on to another showdown with the Minnesota Wild.
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