The St. Louis Blues capitalized on a late Patrick Kane high-sticking double-minor on Alex Pietrangelo to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 on the road to take a 2-1 first-round playoff series lead.
Blues forward Jaden Schwartz fired the game-winner at the 13:22 mark of the third period. This capped a comeback for St. Louis after being down 2-1 entering the third. Since the start of the 2014-15 season, the Blackhawks hadn’t lost a game in regulation when leading after two periods. They were 70-0-3 during that stretch.
“Just got be smarter in that situation,’’ Kane said according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “Obviously can’t take a penalty at that time of the game, especially when the score’s 2-2. I’ll take responsibility on that one for sure.’’
Patrik Berglund tied the game for the Blues at 2-2 at the 5:15 mark of the third when he fired a puck off Michal Rozsival’s knee that bounced past Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford.
"Look, it’s going to be a tough battle for both teams. This feels emotionally, very much like a final and it’s the first round, but it feels very much like a final," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “Both teams are just laying it out there. I like the fact that we’ve got home ice back again. To me, that’s the whole thing is we got home ice back again and we’ve got to find a way to keep it now.”
Earlier in the game, Crawford kept the Blues attack at bay mostly with some phenomenal saves. In the second period he made a big stop stretching out to rob Vladimir Tarasenko in a sequence that included a save on Schwartz off a rebound. Crawford stopped 33 of 36 shots on goal.
As good as Crawford played, Blues netminder Brian Elliott was better. He stopped 44 of 46 Blackhawks shots on goal. This postseason, Elliott has held Chicago down with a 1.28 goal-against average and .963 save percentage in three games so far.
The 44 saves were the most by a Blues goaltender in the playoffs since Curtis Joseph stopped 47 shots on goal against the Dallas Stars in 1994.
Game 4 is Tuesday at Chicago where the Blackhawks will attempt to prevent the Blues from taking a commanding 3-1 series lead.
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