As a Chicago Blackhawks fan, one of the most enjoyable things to see on the ice right now, outside of a Blackhawks Stanley Cup victory, is the St. Louis Blues losing. And losing anything. It doesn’t matter what the stage is or what’s on the line, watching the Blackhawks’ biggest rival lose is entertaining, in a schadenfreude-type way.
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But add in the Blackhawks being the ones to create a Blues loss, and you’ve got a reason for celebration. So it’s not surprising a game between these teams is next on our list of most memorable Blackhawks playoff wins under coach Joel Quenneville.
Note: Check out the previous entries in this series at the end of this post.
No. 23: 2014 Western Conference first round, Game 5
Chicago Blackhawks 3, St. Louis Blues 2 (OT)
I’ll bet there were plenty of times when Q, as coach of the Blues, wanted to beat the daylights out of the Blackhawks. Although, to be fair, the Blackhawks weren’t very good when Q was running the show in St. Louis. But it’s nice that Q shows no former alliances when these teams meet up, and you really wouldn’t expect him to.
The first goal of this game, which was the first in St. Louis on the heels of a pair of Chicago wins at the United Center, was created by Bryan Bickell. He chipped a puck off the boards past Roman Polak, then sprinted past the defenseman to create a 2-on-1 with Marian Hossa. The only man back for the Blues was Barret Jackman, which is hilarious. Bickell sent the puck cross-ice to Hossa, who went around Jackman for a shot that was turned aside by Ryan Miller. But Hossa followed up on the rebound and hammered his next shot home while getting blasted into the net from behind.
They’ve caught a mythical Marian Hossa. (Screenshot from YouTube)
Even with Hossa in the net, the goal still counted, and the Blackhawks were ahead 1-0 late in the first period.
Chicago could have been up 2-0 early in the second with Jackman in the box for cross checking. Duncan Keith received the puck at the blue line on the ensuing powerplay and fired a shot through heavy traffic onto Miller. The puck was then spotted trickling toward the goal line, but Miller reached back and put his glove on top of it to prevent a tally.
The only useful thing T.J. Oshie ever did for the Blues occurred in this period, unfortunately. Jackman threw a stretch pass from his defensive zone to Alex Steen at the other blue line. Steen bided his time and eventually threw the puck to Oshie, who came streaking up the middle of the ice uncontested. As Blackhawks players tried to stick the puck away from him, a difficult task with Oshie moving and the Blackhawks relatively stationary, Oshie went down to a knee but kept going toward the net. Corey Crawford lost his crease while trying to move side to side, allowing Oshie to flick a backhander into a mostly-empty net, tying the game at one halfway through the period.
Da Windy City
Ben Smith, though, wasn’t about to have the Blues being happy and such. About the same point as Hossa scored his goal in the first, the Blackhawks were on the attack in the second. A mess of players trying to move the puck around Chicago’s offensive zone eventually sent it behind the net, where Smith was first to retrieve it. He did a great job eluding Kevin Shattenkirk and eventually threw the puck out to Patrick Kane near the circle to Miller’s left. Kane looked for a lane but settled on a pass to Sheldon Brookbank below the blue line. Brookbank put a one-time on net, and Smith had the puck hit his stick and settle there. Smith then slapped a backhander high over Miller and into the twine, and the Blackhawks led once more.
The Blues didn’t wait long to tie it again, though. Nick Leddy made an error on a 4-on-4 play to start the St. Louis scoring chance. Leddy fired a shot wide of Miller and the net, and the puck rattled around the boards to Jaden Schwartz, who was sent on a 2-on-1 with Alex Pietrangelo. Schwartz waited until Pietrangelo was in tight, made the pass and watched Pietrangelo fire it through a hung-out-to-dry Crawford for the Blues’ second goal just a few minutes into the third period.
Smith would have the next good Chicago chance, about halfway through the frame, as he danced through several stationary Blues players to get a backhander on net that Miller had to toe-save away. Kane picked up the rebound and had a scoring chance with Miller down, but Kane couldn’t settle the puck on his stick.
Then, it was the Crawford Show. Brent Seabrook got caught in a similar situation to what Polak experienced on Hossa’s first-period goal, leaving Keith alone to defend a 2.5-on-1. It was Schwartz again with the puck, this time with Oshie on the opposite side. Keith went down to stop the pass (he didn’t) and Crawford looked committed to a Schwartz shot that wasn’t coming. The puck rattled onto Oshie’s stick, and he tried to sneak a shot inside the post to Crow’s left. Instead, Crow Superman’d over and and stopped the shot, stunning the lighting crew at Scottrade Center — they were ready to put a spotlight on Oshie once again. Not the first time he’s been put in such a position without deserving it.
Is … is he actually flying? (Screenshot from YouTube)
It was then Miller’s turn to make a key stop, as Kane came flying off the bench for a slapper from between the circles. Miller came way out of his net to challenge, and it turned out to be the right play, as he soaked up Kane’s shot to prevent a goal with less than four minutes to go in the third. Going back the other way, Keith and Smith made a nice combined play to keep Vladimir Tarasenko off the scoresheet as well.
But no one could dent the twine through the remainder of the third period, and we went to overtime as a result. It was the fourth overtime game of the series, with the Blues having taken the first two at Scottrade and the Blackhawks capturing the third in Game 4 at the United Center.
Ironically, captain of nothing David Backes started the game-winning scoring play for Chicago. With about 7:30 gone in the extra period, Backes wired a shot on Crawford that was stopped, but Crow permitted a big rebound. Not a problem, as Keith picked it up and whipped it down ice on what was probably an attempted clear. The puck hit Andrew Shaw along the way, but it eventually found the stick of Jonathan Toews, who was clear of everyone near center ice. He went forehand backhand and nestled the puck under the pad of a sprawling Miller, ending the game and causing an eruption from the decent-sized Blackhawks contingent in Scottrade.
This isn’t anything like the Olympics. (Screenshot from YouTube)
The victory gave Chicago all the momentum in this series, as they went up three games to two, took home ice and proceeded to steamroll the Blues in Game 6 to wrap up the series. Thus, we call them the Blose in this post.
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