Chicago at St. Louis – Game 7 – Brouwer and the Blues advance

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With a 3-2 win in the Scottrade Center Monday night, the Blues are off to Dallas after eliminating the arch-rival Chicago Blackhawks.

Exactly a minute into the game, Jori Lehtera redirected a Jay Bouwmeester shot into the back of Corey Crawford’s net to give the Blues a one-goal lead.  Bouwmeester’s initial shot from the blue line was assisted by Jaden Schwartz.

The Notes doubled their lead with 6:17 remaining in the opening period with a slap shot from Colton Parayko, assisted by Patrik Berglund and Alexander Steen.  Steen dug the puck out of the corner and passed to Berglund at the near face-off dot.  Berglund dumped off to the rookie, who fired from almost on the blue line to give the Blues their second goal.

Marian Hossa pulled the Blackhawks back within a goal with a slap shot with 1:30 remaining in the frame.  His third goal of the series was assisted by Richard Panik.  The offensive threat began in the Hawks‘ defensive zone when Schwartz blows an edge and ends up on his back.  Panik collected the puck in the neutral zone and made the cross-ice pass to Hossa just before he crossed the blue line.  Hossa fired his slapper from just outside the right face-off circle.

Just like they have all series, St. Louis made certain to make their presence along the boards known, as they led the Hawks in hits, 20 to seven.

Thanks to a Kevin Shattenkirk hooking penalty causing the first power play of the game, Andrew Shaw leveled the game with a wrister assisted by Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith, the only tally of the period.  Keith started the play at the blue line, passing to Toews who quickly dumped to Shaw along the goal line to Second Star of the Game Brian Elliott’s stick side.  In what was probably an attempted pass to Patrick Kane on the opposite side of the crease, Shaw’s puck hit Bouwmeester’s leg as he was sprawled on the ice and trickled past Elliott’s left skate.

Just as Chicago had the only goal in the second, St. Louis had the lone tally of the third to break the tie and win the series.  The series-clinching goal belongs to First Star Troy Brouwer, his first of this postseason, assisted by Third Star Robby Fabbri and Paul Stastny.  The play starts on Erik Gustafsson’s stick, as he is working to advance the puck into the neutral zone before Fabbri throws a full body check to break possession.  Alex Pietrangelo collected the puck and dumped it back into the offensive zone, where Stastny collected.  Working hard to maintain possession, he finally finds Fabbri in the far face-off circle, who dumps to Brouwer waiting in the crease.  Brouwer’s initial shot finds the right post, and the second was a fan, but the third time was indeed the charm, finding the back of Crawford’s net.

Elliott earns his first Game 7 win in his first Game 7 appearance, saving 31 of 33 shots faced (93.9%), while Crawford takes the loss, saving 23 of 26 (88.5%).

As the lower seed, a maximum of only three games will be played in St. Louis next round when they face the Dallas Stars.  No date or time has been released for when that series will begin in North Texas.

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