Blackhawks take series lead with yet another OT win
Two games ago, the Blackhawks’ playoffs hopes may have seemed low, when the St Louis Blues took the first two games, but since then, the Hawks have rebounded. They took the two games at the United Center, making it a tied series 2-2, and then headed back to the Scottrade Center for Game 5.
And just like most games in this series, this game would go to overtime, and Captain Jonathan Toews would be the one to take the game for the Blackhawks, 7:36 mins into the first overtime, a breakaway goal set up by defenseman Duncan Keith. The Blackhawks are now ahead after trailing in the series, a 3-2 lead with Game 6 coming up on Sunday afternoon.
The game was a balanced one, 2 goals on each side - the Hawks getting the lead and the goal ahead, with the Blues tying up the score both times. And there were plenty of chances on both sides, like Barret Jackman’s slap shop in overtime, or TJ Oshie’s in the second period that could have tipped the game in the Blues favor. Instead, Blackhawks forward Ben Smith scored 90 seconds later, his first goal of the series.
Oshie scored the first goal for the Blues, tying up the score 1-1 in the second period, after Marian Hossa scored the opening goal 16 minutes into the first frame of the game. The veteran winger hasn’t been producing much in the series yet, only 1 assist before adding this goal to his tally.
Alex Pietrangelo, one of Toews, Keith and Patrick Sharp’s teammate for gold-winning team Canada in the Sochi Olympics, scored the second tying goal for the Blues, 1:42 mins into the third period, after a couple of big chances for him that didn’t go past Blackhawks’ goaltender Corey Crawford. Both Crawford and his Blues counterpart Ryan Miller made 27 saves during the game.
Both teams had multiple chances to take the game, and Toews’ breakaway goal was qualified as ‘lucky’ by Blues coach Ken Hitchcock and ‘fortunate’ by Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville. These games have been very balanced and physical, pushing the players to extremes and to bold, sometimes wrong choices, and every game has hinged on very small changes and chances.
The Blues must be remembering last year’s playoffs, when they took the first 2 games only to lose the next 4 games, ending their playoffs run. They’ll come back on Sunday fired up to not see history repeat itself, but the Blackhawks will be just as determined to win and dispatch one of their main rivals out of the playoffs.
Next game of the series is on Sunday, April 27th. Game time is 3.00 p.m. ET and can be seen live on NBC, CBC and RDS.