By: Nick Lanciani
The St. Louis Blues emerged victorious at the United Center on Sunday, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks, 3-2. Blues goaltender, Brian Elliott stopped 44 shots on 46 shots against, picking up the win with a .957 SV%, while Chicago’s Corey Crawford turned aside 33 pucks on 36 shots against in the loss with a .917 SV%.
Jaden Schwartz’s third period power play goal proved to the game winner as St. Louis toppled Chicago on road ice.
Entering Sunday, David Backes had a two-game point streak with 1-1-2 totals in the first two games of the series. Backes has now extended his point streak to three games with an assist on Schwartz’s game winning goal.
Also heading into Game 3, the Blackhawks scratched Brandon Mashinter in favor of Richard Panik and Dale Weise, while the Steve Ott returned to the lineup from an injury that occurred on December 5th for the Blues. Crawford became Chicago’s all-time franchise playoff leader in wins with his 46th career playoff victory after Game 2, surpassing legendary Blackhawks goaltender Tony Esposito. Game 3 was the 371st consecutive sellout at United Center, including postseason games.
Viktor Svedberg and Kyle Brodziak took penalties 1:49 into the first period in Game 3 and gave Chicago an early power play. Svedberg was in the box for a roughing minor, while Brodziak received a roughing double minor, which was served by Robby Fabbri.
St. Louis had 5 shots on goal before the Blackhawks could even record their first shot on goal, yet a slap shot from Brent Seabrook at the point beat Elliott almost 30 seconds into the Blackhawks power play, giving Chicago a 1-0 lead at 2:18 of the first period. Seabrook’s goal was assisted by Jonathan Toews (2) and Patrick Kane (3).
Next, St. Louis’ Jay Bouwmeester served time in the penalty box for hooking Artemi Panarin at 3:41 of the first period and promptly returned to the box for having played the puck before fully exiting the sin bin at 5:46. It’s a real interference rule, look it up.
In keeping with the trend, Svedberg went to the box for catching Vladimir Tarasenko with a high stick at 12:04 of the first period and gave the Blues a power play.
All it took was seven seconds of a man advantage for St. Louis defenseman, Colton Parayko to tie the game, 1-1, with a power play goal (his first of the playoffs) that was assisted by Alex Pietrangelo and Fabbri.
At 19:31 of the first period, Joel Edmundson and Andrew Shaw exchanged pleasantries, sending Edmundson to the box for cross checking and Shaw for slashing. The matching minors would carry over into the second period for a little over the first minute and a half.
After one, the game was tied 1-1, with the Blackhawks leading in shots on goal (10-9), faceoff wins (17-10), giveaways (4-3) and takeaways (2-1). The Blues led in hits (16-12) and blocked shots (10-3) after twenty minutes of play.
Sixty-four seconds into the second period Artem Anisimov put Chicago ahead 2-1 with some help from Panarin.
Aside from the numerous saves Crawford made in the chaos of the first six minutes of the second period, the only other major event was Chicago’s last power play of the afternoon at 9:38 of the 2nd. Scottie Upshall was sent to the box for tripping Andrew Shaw, but the Blackhawks were unsuccessful to convert on the power play. With forty minutes in the books, Chicago was leading 2-1 and outshooting the Blues 34-22.
The Blackhawks had a .774 win percentage (tied for 5th in the NHL) in the regular season when scoring first, but regular season stats ultimately mean nothing in the playoffs.
A little over five minutes into the third period, Patrik Berglund scored for St. Louis to tie the game, 2-2. Kevin Shattenkirk (1) and Robby Fabbri (2) picked up assists on Berglund’s goal. Patrick Kane took a four-minute double minor penalty for high sticking at 11:51 of the 3rd and put St. Louis on the power play.
Vladimir Tarasenko found David Backes who tossed the puck over to Jaden Schwartz, who in turn, capitalized on the power play with a goal. Schwartz’s goal put the Blues ahead 3-2 with plenty of time for Chicago to throw everything left at the net, including the kitchen sink. Ultimately, the Blackhawks pulled Crawford in exchange for an extra attacker, but it was to no avail as the Brian Elliott and the Blues sealed the deal.
After sixty minutes of play, the Blues were victorious and led in hits (40-36), faceoff wins (42-41) and went 2/3 on the night on the power play. Chicago finished Game 3 leading in shots on goal (46-36), giveaways (12-9) and blocked shots (19-13), and went 1/4 on the man advantage on the night.
The St. Louis Blues now have a 2-1 series lead heading into Game 4.
Game 4 is scheduled for Tuesday night at 9:30 PM EST at the United Center and can be seen on NBCSN in the United States, as well as Sportsnet and TVA Sports in Canada.