Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville threw his lines in a blender right out of the gates on Tuesday night, moving Andrew Shaw up to the top line with Jonathan Toews and Andrew Ladd. Marian Hossa shifted primarily with Marcus Kruger and Andrew Desjardins.
The opening 20 minutes at the United Center didn’t see a single player go to the penalty box. Only Vladimir Tarasenko – of course – was able to beat Corey Crawford, thanks to Brent Seabrook losing a board battle and then screening his own netminder perfectly. The Hawks out-shot the Blues 14-5 in the first but once again failed to beat Brian Elliott.
But things went crazy in the second period.
Richard Panik replaced Shaw on the top line for the opening faceoff of the second and went to the penalty box 39 seconds into the period. Chicago was able to successfully kill off the penalty, and Panik returned the favor at 7:05 when Joel Edmundson held him and went to the box.
Chicago didn’t convert on the power play, but mere seconds after it ended Hossa put a shot on net that glanced off Shaw’s jersey and into the net to tie the game.
Three minutes later the United Center erupted – as did the players.
Robby Fabbri was pushed into Crawford and the Hawks’ netminder took exception. The two exchanged a few words and then the gloves game off. Crawford threw a few punches and the teams came together. The result was Fabbri in the box for goaltender interference and both Alex Pietrangelo and Kevin Shattenkirk in the box for roughing Andrew Ladd. Ladd went to the box as well, and was joined by Panik (serving a roughing penalty on Crawford).
During the power play, Artemi Panarin and Alexander Steen joined the crowds in the penalty box when they mixed it up after a whistle. Duncan Keith scored on the power play to give Chicago a 2-1 lead and the Hawks were flying.
But nobody paid attention to Tarasenko, and it cost the Hawks. Again.
With Ladd back in the box four minutes later, Tarasenko scored a power play goal – his second of the night and third of the series – to tie the game.
Keith took an interference penalty only 61 seconds into the third trying to prevent a 3-on-1 breakaway and the Blues converted another advantage. This time, Jaden Schwartz beat Crawford for the go-ahead goal at 1:36 into the third to give St. Louis a 3-2 lead.
A brutal turnover by Trevor van Riemsdyk three minutes later gave Steen a breakaway and he beat Crawford to extend the lead to 4-2.
The United Center was dead quiet, and the Hawks were suddenly chasing two goals. At home. With under 16 minutes to play in regulation.
Ten sloppy minutes followed with the Hawks fighting the puck and turning the puck over far too much. But a Keith shot – with Shaw in front – was redirected off Tarasenko’s stick and got past Elliott to cut the lead to one with 5:20 remaining in regulation.
Chicago was buzzing and getting chances after the Keith goal, but Shaw took an awful, brutal, terrible, stupid penalty with 2:04 left in regulation. He shoved Jay Bouwmeester into the net after Elliott controlled a shot and was sent to the box disgusted.
The Hawks pulled Crawford while killing the penalty and Steen scored what appeared to be his second of the night into the empty net. But the play was reviewed and, for the second time in the series, the Blues lost a goal because a player crossed the blue line prematurely. With 37 seconds left, the Hawks had a faint breath of life.
ENG called back due to offside pic.twitter.com/ZBAknpboVZ
— Stephanie (@myregularface) April 20, 2016
Time expired on the Hawks and there was more… conversation… after the whistle as Shaw lost it and started throwing punches at anything in a white sweater. It didn’t change the result, however, and the Blackhawks are headed to St. Louis facing an elimination game on Thursday night.
Elliott was spectacular again for St. Louis. The Hawks out-shot the Blues in all three period once again, but the best player on the ice was between the pipes for the Blues. He made 39 saves and was especially impressive in the third period when the Hawks were pressing. Chicago put 14 shots on net in all three periods.
Crawford stopped 16 of 20 in the loss.
Desjardins returned to the lineup and skated eight minutes with six hits. Erik Gustafsson returned to the lineup and picked up an assist in 13:42. Teuvo Teravainen lost all five of his faceoffs, and Kruger won only five of 16 at the dot. The Hawks killed half of the Blues’ four power plays.
Keith led the Hawks with two goals, one hit, one takeaway and one blocked shot in 24:36. Hossa and Shaw finished with a team-leading five shots on net each, and Patrick Kane skated 23:17 without a goal.