The St. Louis Blues have found the recipe for success against the Chicago Blackhawks: Score dramatic game-tying goals with less than two minutes remaining in regulation, and then win in overtime.
Granted, this recipe is about as stable as one for homemade nitroglycerin, but it’s worked in Games 1 and 2, as Vladimir Tarasenko’s power-play goal with just over six seconds left in regulation tied it and Barret Jackman’s seeing-eye shot at 5:50 of overtime won it on Saturday.
Here’s the Tarasenko goal:
And here’s the Jackman game-winner:
Obviously, the game turned as David Backes turned into a Brent Seabrook hit in the third period, knocking the Blues captain out of the game with an injury and the Blackhawks defenseman out of the game with an ejection for charging. Tarasenko’s goal came with 16 seconds remaining on the Seabrook penalty.
The Blackhawks are in trouble. (Thanks, Captain Obvious.) You can talk all you want about having faced playoff adversity before and yadda yadda, but losing consecutive games in this manner is a kick in the stomach. They limp back home for a Game 3, searching for someone to play the hero. Or just not do something stupid – 41 PIMs in Game 2, after just eight in Game 1.
A few thoughts:
* We covered the Seabrook hit here. The severity of Backes’ injury will likely determine his punishment from the Department of Player Safety, but two games is probably the verdict based on recent playoff rulings. Which means he'll get one, of course.
* Blues fans are likely also screaming about the knee-on-knee hit from Bryan Bickell on Sobotka, but that looked like unfortunate body positioning from both and at the very least an attempt by Bickell to deliver a full body check.
* Corey Crawford was screened well on the game-tying and game-winning goals. He has a .904 save percentage facing 83 shots for the series. His reaction after the game-tying goal showed him devastated, and he should be: Ryan Miller has been inconsistant to a fault in the first two games but is still outplaying Crawford.
* Secondary scoring was always going to make or break the Blues this postseason, and Vladimir Tarasenko's return from injury might prove to be the biggest factor if they indeed win the series.
* Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp are scoreless in two games, as Hossa has a minus-3 and Sharp has a minus-2. Credit Vladimir Sobotka’s line for some of that shutdown play.
* As Mike Kelly noted before the game, “teams that go up 2-0 in a best-of-seven Stanley Cup Playoffs series are 287-45 all-time (86.4%).”