Brian Elliott lays on the ice after Patrick Kane scored 3:07 into the second overtime Thursday night to give the Blackhawks the win over the Blues. (Bill Greenblatt/UPI)

By Rob Rains

Duncan Keith needed only three words to describe the importance of Patrick Kane’s goal 3:07 into the second overtime Thursday night at Scottrade Center.

“Saved our season,” Keith said.

The defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks were facing elimination in game five of their opening-round playoff series against the Blues before Kane decided he was not ready for their season to end, and not without him having done little to prevent it.

Kane, who had not scored a goal in the first four games of the series after scoring 46 in the regular season, finally broke that drought when he went behind the net and got to a loose puck before goalie Brian Elliott and poked it into the net giving the Blackhawks a 4-3 win over the Blues.

It was the fifth career overtime goal in the playoffs for Kane and the 49th of his career in the playoffs. The five overtime goals ties Kane for third all-time in Stanley Cup history.

"He’s a clutch player,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “Obviously, he’s a great player. Not a lot of players can do what he did, or does.”

The Blackhawks’ win cut the Blues lead in the series to three games to two and sent it back to Chicago for game six, which will be played at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
If a seventh game is necessary it will be Monday night in St. Louis.

Kane has been a big reason why the Blackhawks are now 8-1 when facing elimination since the beginning of the 2013 playoffs but he was not happy with his contribution to the team in this series, or even in Thursday night’s game, before his overtime goal.

“I don't think I was very good in that first overtime or very good at all tonight,” Kane said. “It's one of those things I tried to tell myself just to get confidence going into that fifth period and try to make some plays.

“I was fortunate enough that that puck squeaked to the side and I was able to wrap one in. … When you get those kind of opportunities, sometimes you come up big. Sometimes you get lucky too.

The Blackhawks had appeared to take control of the game with three goals in the second period, including a shorthanded goal from Marian Hossa – his 50th career goal in the playoffs - and a goal by Artemi Panarin with just .4 of a second left in the period.

But the Blues, who had come from behind to win both games three and four in Chicago, responded once again with two goals in the third period. Robby Fabbri scored his first career playoff goal before David Backes tied it 5:10 left in regulation.

The Blues had a chance to win the game when they got a power-play with 4:14 to go after Chicago was called for having too many men on the ice but couldn’t score and the game went to overtime.

The Blues outshot the Blackhawks 11-7 in the first overtime period but could not get the puck past Crawford.

“It was tough to give up another lead like that,” Crawford said. “But we didn't crack. We stuck with our game and we're excited to go back home now.”

Partially because of both team’s recent playoff history, the Blues did not expect the Blackhawks to go away quietly. The Blues have not won a playoff series since 2012 and have lost in the first round each of the past three years.

“The hockey gods are testing us right now,” said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, ho assisted on all three of the Blues’ goals. “I thought we deserved to win the game. We’re still up 3-2.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock had a simple message to his players after the game.

“Plane’s at 3,” Hitchcock said. “We knew this was going to be difficult, we knew it was going to be hard and we knew it was going to be a huge challenge. We’ve just got to find another way to get them to crack some more.”
NOTES: RW Dale Weise replaced RW Andrew Shaw in the Blackhawks' lineup while Shaw served a one-game suspension for making a homophobic slur near the end of Game 4. Shaw had two goals and two assists in the first four games of the series, tying for the most points by a Chicago player. ... The Blackhawks made two other changes in their lineup, inserting LW Brandon Mashinter -- who did not play in the two games in Chicago -- in place of LW Tomas Fleischmann and swapping D David Rundblad -- who had not played in the series -- for D Michal Rozsival. ... For the Blues, D Carl Gunna