It took the Chicago Blackhawks only two minutes and 18 seconds to jump out to a 1-0 lead over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs this afternoon. Blues forward Kyle Brodziak drew a roughing penalty just under two minutes into the game and 30 seconds into the power play, Brent Seabrook fired a shot from the point that found it’s way to the back of the net and gave the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead early in the first period. Following the power play goal, the Blackhawks drew two more penalties in a row but failed to convert on both chances.
Blackhawks defenseman Viktor Svedberg drew a penalty for high-sticking midway through the first period and with just under eight minutes remaining, Blues forward Colton Parayko fired a puck past Corey Crawford, tying the game at one goal a piece.
After a scuffle behind the net towards the end of the first period, Joel Edmundson and Andrew Shaw were both sent off for penalties that resulted in a 4-on-4 for the remaining of the first period and the beginning of the second.
Just over one minute into the second period, Blackhawks forward Artemi Panarin lost a faceoff and, after a puck battle in the corner, sent a pass to the front of the net to find a wide open Artem Anisimov who lifted the puck past goaltender Brian Elliot and gave the Hawks the 2-1 lead. The second period consisted of textbook play by both teams. The Blackhawks dominated the offensive attack and put up 24 shots in the second period alone.
After the game, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was surprised to learn the Blackhawks put up 24 shots in the second period alone. “That’s how many shots they had? Wow, that’s pretty good.”
On the opposite side, the Blues continued their physical attack on the Blackhawks and out hit the Blackhawks in the second period, and in the game as a whole. The Blackhawks entered the third period up 2-1 and were only 20 minutes away from going up a game in the series on the Blues.
Since the start of the 2014-2015 season, the Blackhawks had never lost a game in regulation when leading after two period. In that time frame, the Blackhawks held a record of 70-0-4 when leading after two.
Five minutes and 15 seconds into the third period, Blues forward Patrick Berglund skated in and fired a shot on goal that deflected off Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival, took a sharp bounce off the ice and beat Corey Crawford high-glove side to give the Blues their second goal of the game and tie the game at 2-2.
Crawford addressed the goal afterwards saying that the goal took “a wicked, wicked bounce…You just somehow have to not let that get in your way and keep playing.”
With 8:09 to play in the game, Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane took an ill-advised high-sticking penalty that resulted in a four-minute, double-minor penalty that gave the Blues a man advantage. Just one minute and 31 seconds later, Jaden Schwartz took a pass from David Backes and put the puck past Crawford to give the Blues a late 3-2 lead in the game.
The Blackhawks couldn’t find an equalizer and pulled their goalie for an extra attacker with 1:30 remaining in the game. Despite several rushes and chances, the Blackhawks couldn’t find the back of the net and time expired to give the Blues the 3-2 victory and the 2-1 series lead. It was the Blues’ first victory in the playoffs at the United Center since 2002.
After the game, Patrick Kane addressed the media and took full responsibility for his double-minor penalty that led to the game-winning goal by the Blues. “I’ll take responsibility on that one. Gotta be smarter than that,” he said. When asked about the deficit the Blackhawks faced in the series, he added, “You can look at positives, but the only thing it comes down to in the playoffs is wins and losses. There’s gonna be big momentum swings. You saw that last game. They obviously had a good response tonight. It’s our turn to respond.”
Crawford echoed the statements Kane made in the post-game interviews and added, “We gotta get pissed off. I think we are right now.”
Game 4 in the series takes place on Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. in Chicago and Game 5 will be on Thursday in St. Louis at 8:30 p.m.