After a crazy sequence that saw multiple would-be goals reviewed, the Blackhawks may have broken the hearts of the St. Louis Blues on Friday night.
The first period was more of the same: no goals. Neither team was able to solve the opposing netminder through 20 minutes, but the physical play was coming from both sides.
In the second, Jori Lehtera took advantage of Michal Rozsival to find a wide open Vladimir Tarasenko to give the Blues a 1-0 lead.
But an awful icing on the Blues in the final seconds of the middle period opened the door. Jonathan Toews won a draw and Duncan Keith found the back of the net with four seconds left in the period.
The third is when things went nuts.
It appeared Lehtera found Tarasenko for another goal, but coach Joel Quenneville challenged the play and Lehtera was ruled offsides on the play. The call was correct, but isn’t the intent of the rule. Nobody in Chicago is complaining, however.
A couple short minutes later, with a Blackhawks power play coming to a close, a rebound was tapped in by Andrew Shaw. Toronto took a look at it, and confirmed the call. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock then challenged the play, claiming Shaw had interfered with Brian Elliott. The on-ice officials looked at it and also confirmed the call.
The Hawks had a devastating 2-1 lead.
With Elliott on the bench, Keith cleared the puck from deep in his own zone and Artemi Panarin tipped the puck at center ice. The redirect was just enough to find the empty cage to give the Blackhawks a stunning 3-1 lead.
The Blues scored off a faceoff in the closing seconds, but the game was already decided. The Hawks won, in St. Louis, 3-2.
Keith returned from suspension and had an enormous impact. He skated 30:59 with four shots on goal, three more that missed the mark, one blocked shot, one hit and one takeaway. He was credited with an assist on Panarin’s goal to go with his goal.
Toews had a huge night as well. He won 19 of 29 at the dot and was credited with three hits and four shots on net. Andrew Ladd brought the lumber again, picking up eight more hits to give him 16 in the series. Marian Hossa was also terrific on that line, finishing with four shots on goal.
Patrick Kane led Chicago forwards with 23:41 on the night. He was credited with two hits, one blocked shot and two assists. Kane was one of four Blackhawks with a team-high four shots on goal.
Niklas Hjalmarsson led the Hawks with three blocked shots in 23:36 and Trevor van Riemsdyk skate 21:11 of better play as well. Brent Seabrook had an assist and two hits in 21:14 on the night.
Corey Crawford had a stellar night in spite of the morons in St. Louis chanting his name throughout. He made 29 saves, many of which were in traffic.
Richard Panik took the place of Brandon Mashinter and skated 7:20 with one hit and one takeaway. He was on a line with Teuvo Teravainen, who struggled all night, and Andrew Desjardins. They were all limited to under eight minutes in the win.
Viktor Svedberg was the sixth defenseman on the night and skated 6:46 with two blocked shots and, most importantly, no major mistakes.
Game Three is at the United Center on Sunday afternoon.