Game Report: Blues 4, Blackhawks 3

By Nicholas Hand

The Blues overcame adversity once again Tuesday night and are now one win away from eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks and advancing past the first round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice before Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen scored in the third period to defeat the Blackhawks for the second game in a row in Chicago and take a three games to one lead in the series.

Game five will be Thursday night at Scottrade Center.

The Blues showed resiliency in a game that featured plenty of adversity, including more controversial calls from the officials.

Brian Elliott was solid yet again with 39 saves as the Blackhawks outshot the Blues by a substantial 42-20 margin.

The Blues started off slow in a first period that saw the Blackhawks outshoot the Blues by a 14 to five margin. Artem Anisimov nearly scored early in the contest for Chicago after Elliott’s initial save produced a rebound that fell on the goal line. Elliott swept the puck up against the post and knocked it off the line as the referee whistled the play dead.

With Chicago outshooting the Blues seven to two, a quick forecheck and pass by Jori Lehtera to Tarasenko produced a snap shot that beat Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford to give the Blues a 1-0 lead at 14:02. Schwartz also assisted on Tarasenko’s second goal of the postseason.

The Blues carried the lead into the second period until 9:12 into the middle frame. After the Blues successfully killed a holding minor against Joel Edmundson, the Blackhawks continued to pressure the Blues zone and Edmundson provided a screen on a Marian Hossa shot that deflected off of Andrew Shaw’s jersey and then his glove and into the net to knot the game at 1-1.

With 8:06 remaining in the second period, a big fracas occurred after Jonathan Toews caused Blues forward Robby Fabbri over Crawford after two Crawford saves on Fabbri. Crawford took exception and tracked Fabbri down behind the net starting the altercation.
Ten penalty minutes were assigned in the altercation with Crawford receiving only a two-minute roughing minor along with Chicago’s Andrew Ladd. Fabbri received a high questionable goaltender inference minor with Kevin Shattenkirk and Alex Pietrangelo receiving roughing minors.

Duncan Keith gave the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead on the ensuring power-play at 13:09 with Shaw and Patrick Kane assisting on Keith’s second of the season that went underneath the arm of Elliott.

Ladd’s second minor penalty of the period provided costly for the Blackhawks as he was whistled for interference on Steen at 17:09.

With 2:29 remaining in the second period, Tarasenko tied the game at 2-2 with a laser wrist shot under Crawford’s glove on the power play with Steen and Shattenkirk assisting.
In the first minute of the third period, Keith was whistled for holding when he pulled down Lehtera and what was going to be an odd-man rush.

Schwartz pulled the Blues ahead 3-2 with a third period power-play goal for the second consecutive game at 1:36. Tarasenko passed the puck to Shattenkirk at the point, who fired a shot that was blocked by Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk with the puck coming straight to Schwartz’s stick who buried a wrist shot past Crawford.

Just over three minutes later, the Blues secured their first two-goal lead of the series when Steen scored an unassisted breakaway goal at 4:46.

Steen stole the puck on an intended pass between defenseman from van Riemsdyk and skated in all alone beating Crawford top shelf on his glove side.

The Blackhawks cut the Blues lead to 4-3 with 5:20 remaining in regulation on Keith’s second goal of the game as his shot hit off of Tarasenko’s shaft and deflected six feet off the ice and fluttered down into the goal behind Elliott.

An inexcusable penalty by Shaw with 2:04 remaining in regulation helped the Blues kill the remainder of regulation time. Shaw took down Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester in front of the net after the whistle on an Elliott save.

The Blues were able to keep the Blackhawks from tying the game but not before additional drama in the final minute when a Steen empty net goal was waived off on league review for an off-side infraction with just 37 seconds remaining.

Of Note: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews won just 52 percent of his face-offs as the Blues’ Paul Stastny had a terrific night at the dot winning 64 percent, including many key face-offs down the stretch. Stastny also led all Blues forwards with 22:27 of ice-time… Tarasenko posted his first multi-goal game of the series although he would have had another in Game 2 before the goal was called back due to Lehtera’s off-side… Shattenkirk had two important assists as the Blues defense continues to produce offensively in this series… The Blues power-play became red-hot at the United Center with four power-play goals combined in Games 3 and 4.

Between the Pipes:
Elliott surrendered three goals on 42 shots but made the key saves once again every time he was called upon. Crawford allowed four goals on just 20 shots but all four of the Blues goals were high quality chances with Crawford having little chance for the save.

Looking Ahead:
Game 5 of the series takes place at 8:30pm on Thursday night at Scottrade Center.


Blues Audio After win: Hitchcock, Bortuzzo, Elliott, Schwartz, Fabbri, Backes, Tarasenko