Nothing can ever be easy, can it?
Chicago coach Joel Quenneville mixed up the lines to start the game, but it didn’t generate any offense in the opening 20 minutes. The Hawks and Blues skated to a 0-0 tie through a first period that saw only ten shots on net (six for St. Louis, four for Chicago). No penalties were called.
The Hawks appeared to wake up and take control in a terrific, back-and-forth second period. Chicago put 16 shots on net and beat Brian Elliott three times, taking a 3-1 lead to the dressing room.
David Rundblad, dressing for the first time since before Christmas and a trip to Europe, took a penalty 54 seconds into the second period. But Marian Hossa exploded up the ice for a short-handed goal.
Unfortunately, there was plenty of time left on the Blues’ power play and Jaden Schwartz scored 63 seconds later to tie the game. He unleashed a shot from outside of the circle to Corey Crawford’s right and beat him glove side for the equalizer.
From there, however, it was all Blackhawks in the second.
Artem Anisimov tapped in a rebound for his second of the series at 15:24 and then Patrick Kane set up Artemi Panarin for a goal with 0.4 seconds left in the period.
The Hawks out-shot the Blues 16-14 in the second period and took momentum to the dressing room. Unfortunately, they didn’t bring it back for the third period.
Robby Fabbri beat Crawford at 6:57 into the third to draw the Blues within one, and David Backes redirected an Alex Pietrangelo shot past Crawford to tie the game with five minutes left in regulation.
St. Louis got another great opportunity with four minutes left in regulation when the Hawks were called for too many men, but Chicago successfully killed the advantage.
The final two minutes passed with mild heart palpitations, and the two teams headed to sudden death overtime in an elimination game.
Since 2009, the #Blackhawks have played 502 minutes & 56 seconds worth of Overtime in the playoffs
— Sportsnet Stats (@SNstats) April 22, 2016
Alex Steen got a great scoring chance three minutes into the overtime but Crawford made a huge save. St. Louis had the first five shots in the extra period and most of the first ten minutes were played in the Hawks’ end, but the Hawks had a great chance with a loose puck in front of Elliott nine minutes into OT. It took Chicago 7:58 to get a shot on net.
With six minutes left in regulation the pace accelerated to break-neck speed. The Hawks had some really good chances and Crawford kept the Hawks in the game with a number of superb saves. All of this was taking place while the Hawks were effectively skating four defensemen; Rundblad (rightfully) didn’t step on the ice in overtime and Erik Gustafsson skated only three shifts.
Crawford made 11 saves in the first overtime; Elliott made seven.
And we headed to a second overtime.
Just 2:56 into the second overtime, Kane got the puck to Elliott’s left and the puck slid just past the net… where Kane retrieved it and flipped a backhanded shot into the open net for the game-winner. Richard Panik, who played a fantastic game skating 21:09, picked up the only assist on the goal.
The Mayor of Dangle City https://t.co/Gq1McaDlGv
— John Buccigross (@Buccigross) April 22, 2016
The game-winning goal was the first of these playoffs for Kane but the fifth postseason overtime GWG in the career of the Art Ross winner.
Duncan Keith led the Hawks with 50 shifts and 42:20 of ice time as Chicago relied heavily on their top four defensemen. Brent Seabrook led the Hawks with six hits and six blocked shots in 39:48 and Niklas Hjalmarsson blocked five shots in 32:58. Trevor van Riemsdyk skated 29:11 with three blocked shots in the win. Rundblad skated 6:51 and looked completely lost.
Kane skated 31:16 and dominated the second overtime. He put three shots on net and four more attempts missed the mark; he was also credited with an assist.
Jonathan Toews had one assist and won 19 of 30 faceoffs in 28:43 and Hossa was a beast, leading Chicago with seven shots on net in 24:47. Hossa was also credited with three hits and three takeaways. Panarin had a goal and an assist in 25:36. Anisimov won only three of 14 faceoffs in 20:44.
Crawford made 43 saves and his effort in the the extra hockey was incredible to keep his team alive. Elliott 31 saves in the loss.
Game Six will begin at 7 pm CT on Saturday at the United Center.