Blackhawks tie up series 2-2 on third OT of series

Anybody who counted the Blackhawks out after they went down 0-2 versus the St. Louis Blues in the opening round might be feeling a little silly right about now.

However, the Blackhawks still haven't played their best hockey. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, after each missing the final couple of weeks of the regular season with injuries, are rounding into form. The team as a whole has more gears.

The Blues are playing the kind of hockey that kept them at or near the top of the Central all season. In particular, Vladimir Tarasenko has been marvelous so far in the playoffs, averaging a goal per game, to lead the league for playoff goals.

St. Louis started strong, with shots on Chicago's goal early, but the Blackhawks eventually turned the tide, with a 13-8 difference in SOG at the end of the first.

After a scoreless first period, Andrew Shaw struck first for the Blackhawks, making it 1-0 on a power play goal at 8:40 in the second. Patrick Kane, who had an assist on the first goal, stretched the lead out to 2-0 several minutes later.

But, like 2-goal leads throughout the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs across the league, no 2-goal lead was safe. Vladimir Tarasenko would get the Blues on the board with a power play goal with 1:09 left in the second period, and Maxim Lapierre would tie up the game 2-2 just over a minute later.

Despite giving the Blues four power-play opportunities in the fourth, and six overall, the Blackhawks only gave up one PPG. Chicago's PK is humming along at 90.5% in the playoffs despite giving up 21 opportunites (tied with Columbus).

Tarasenko would give the Blues their first lead of the game, 3-2, with a wrist shot, 12:26 into the third. Bryan Bickell would then score his first of the plyaoffs, a tip-in off Michal Rozsival, to tie the game at 3-3 with 3:52 remaining.

Of course this game went to overtime - because hey, why not? Only the third game - of four played so far in this series - to go to OT! Patrick Kane would win it for the Blackhawks with a beauty of a snipe from the left circle at 11:17 of OT.

The series returns to St. Louis at 7:00 pm CDT on Friday night tied 2-2. The game will be carried on NBCSN nationwide; CSN-Chicago; and Fox-MW in St. Louis; RDS2 in Canada. Radio feeds available via 87.7 The Game in Chicago and Y98 FM in St. Louis.

Three stars:
1) Patrick Kane - CHI (2G including GWG)
2) Vladimir Tarasenko - STL (2G)
3) Jonathan Toews - CHI (1A)