Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks Stun St. Louis
For the fourth time in five games, the first round series between the Blackhawks and Blues went to extra hockey.
In the previous three overtimes, the home team came away with the win.
On Friday night, Jonathan Toews broke that trend – and thousands of hearts in St. Louis.
At 7:36 into overtime, Toews came on the ice and received a gorgeous outlet pass from Duncan Keith. The breakaway ended as so many shootout attempts have for Chicago’s captain – in the back of the net – and the Hawks come home with a 3-2 series lead.
David Backes returned for the Blues and played 21:35 in the loss. Both coaches mixed up their lineups, and saw varying results from their lineups.
Joel Quenneville opened the game with Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell skating with Toews, and that line provided the first goal of the game. Hossa finally found the back of the net with the puck… and ended up there himself after a late hit from Backes put him behind Ryan Miller. Unfortunately for Backes and Miller, the puck was there already, and the Hawks were up 1-0.
St. Louis tied the game at 11:04 into the second on a remarkable effort by TJ Oshie, who was falling to the ice but still managed to elevate the puck just enough to beat Corey Crawford.
A little more than six minutes later, Ben Smith gave the lead back to the Hawks with a nice move in traffic in front of the net. Like Hossa, it was Smith’s first of the postseason. Smith spent most of the game skating between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp, and that line was more dynamic than it had been with Michal Handzus at
anchor center. Smith won only two of 10 faceoffs, but played 19:28 in the game.
Only 1:42 into the third period, Alex Pietrangelo beat Crawford to tie the game, and regulation ended with the scoreboard knotted at two apiece.
Crawford made 27 stops in the game, including a number of athletic saves to keep the Hawks in the game. He did benefit from the Blues missing at least three wide open nets, an epidemic that has hurt St. Louis throughout the series.
Niklas Hjalmarsson once again played exceptionally well, leading the team with six blocked shots in over 26 minutes of ice time again. In the absence of Brent Seabrook, Hjalmarsson has elevated his game and been a rock on the blue line.
Sheldon Brookbank skated 18:35 with an assist, one blocked shot and two hits in the game. Stepping into the lineup while Seabrook has been suspended, Brookbank has done an effective job and has played a significant amount of ice time.
Speaking of significant amounts of ice time, Brandon Bollig skated eight shifts (4:18) on Friday night.
Both teams failed on two power plays in the game. Chicago had to kill two penalties inside the first ten minutes of the game.
Miller stopped 27 of 30 in the loss but left a lot of big rebounds for the Hawks to work with in front of the net. The Hawks were able to take advantage of those rebounds, and eventually won the game on the Toews breakaway.
Duncan Keith skated 29:04 and had the primary assist on the game-winning goal.
The Hawks – with Brent Seabrook back in the lineup – will look to close out the series on Sunday at the United Center.
45 thoughts on “Jonathan Toews, Blackhawks Stun St. Louis”
You think StL wanted that one?
G4 – The Great 88
G5 – Johnny B Goode
Great Game! Capt. Serious comes through in the end, willing us to victory, Ben Smith was an absolute beast tonight, and Bickell has been dominant in the playoffs (again)…. Hawks Win! Hawks Win! I’ll sleep good tonight. #19 #28 #29
Another very exciting game between these two evenly matched clubs. I thought the key in the game for the Hawks was Ben Smith and Marcus Kruger getting 19+ minutes of ice time each. Both have been great for the Hawks and it really helped to not over burden the “stars” because Bollig and Handzus hardly skated any 5 on 5 minutes, which again is a perplexing decision by Q.
Bickell continues to have a monster series…Hammer and Keith were outstanding again, and kudos to Sheldon Brookbank who has not really been a factor for the Hawks over 2 seasons…but these last 3 games he has been very solid and has been a major contributor to our victories…he must feel great tonight…congrats BB!
Big efforts from Saad and Shaw as well…the Hawks had 3 very good lines again tonight largely due to Q giving Smith and Kruger those big minutes. Smith’s goal was an outstanding effort by him…that was a real goal scorer’s goal. I would like to see what Smith could do for an entire season centring a line with talent.
CC did what he had to, and made some nice saves, but he did look awkward most of the night…and his “foot work” on the Oshie goal was terrible. If CC has a big game Sunday, this series is over!
Great job Hawks! Great goal Tazer!
I think this was the best team effort of the series, and with Seabrook coming back next game I would like to see Brookbank instead of Leddy. He had a couple of bad pinches including the tying goal for STL.
Wow!…Tazer!…………Hopefully Crawford is not hurt, seems like maybe he was. Pressure now on us as no way we want to go back to St. Louis. Also hope all the Hanzus detractors are now satisfied…Smith was great and key to the game, really hustled out there and keep the puck in St. Louis end repeatedly. What a great team we have.
Ben Smith had a monster game tonight. His work along the boards was outstanding. Another one of those guys that raise their game in the playoffs.
Crawford should be making believers out of all Hawk fans. Some great saves again tonight. Is he the best goalie in the world – who cares! He’s good enough.
Saad needs to work on his hands. He’s got everything else to be a top player. Unfortunately he bobbles the puck away too much at this point in his young career.
Sunday. It will be intense. I’m counting on both teams playing their best game. It should be fun.
Oh yeah – thanks Tazer for burying that.
A satisfying win, but yet more odd decisions by Q. Here’s what I’d ask him if I could:
Why put Bolling in lineup if you’re not going to use him?
Why scratch a physical scorer–Morin–when he can help against a strong defensive team?
Why start turnover-machine Versteeg, who over-stickhandles and gets picked every other play, when you have speedy Nordstom, who can pressure the Blues with his speed, waiting in the wings?
Why keep playing Rosival, who’s been so sloppy with puck and too often a liability in our zone? How about sitting him and letting Brookbank continue once Seabrook returns?
That said…let’s seal the deal on Sunday!
Blues are stupid assholes who deserve to lose!
81/16/28 — Beasts (like they have been most of year)
ER- thanks for calling out Saad and his Hands… and I really don’t like his PP minutes they should go to 16 or Morin (oh – I forgot Morin doesn’t dress) But really if 52 plays 4 minutes… why not just Play Morin for 4-5 minutes on PP!!! Sarcastic/but really???
Saad could have had 2-3 goals tonite, and his lack of patience and hands on the PP is not very good…
Great game for the Hawks. What a win. Ben Smith played awesome and Tazer with the nail in the coffin. I think Q has finally figured out that Smith is a top 6 forward and that Handzus and Versteeg belong on the 4th line with Bolig. If Q would just replace the useless Bolig with Morin the Hawks will repeat. GO HAWKS
@Claude Crane, Nordstrom would get eaten alive by the Blues. He is much too weak along the boards and played too little during the regular season to really be considered.
Bollig on the other hand… I always stick up for Bollig but if Q refusesto give him 5+ minutes, you have to consider playing Morin. Versteeg played well, especially in the first period but was pretty much neutralized by Handzus and Bollig the rest of the way.
Hjalmarsson struggled a bit, mainly with leaving the defensive zone. He has such a weak clearing shot but is always good for some key blocked shots.
Crawford did what he had to do, but looked a little hurt during the second and third periods. Looked slow/passive but I didn’t catch what may grace caused this. Hopefully he’s good for Game 6 to wrap up the series
Nothing better then seeing all these Blues fans look of disappointment up close and personal! 2-1 Sunday afternoon! Go Hawks!
Saad could of had a couple of goals relatively easily tonight…I really don’t know what has happened to his offensive game since that injury, but something is not right. What I love about Saad though, is that every other aspect of his game is top notch…and he’s so strong on the puck…I love the Hawks future with guys like this in the lineup. Besides the core, players like Saad, Shaw, Kruger, Smith, Bickell, Hammer are going to keep this team winning, because these guys are hard working winners!
I don’t see “big pressure” on the Hawks for game 6…these 2 teams have played 5 games now, and the Hawks should have won all 5…all the Hawks have to do is play their game by keeping Ben Smith on the 2nd line…and remember, we have been without Seabrook for the last 3.
Cb- game tying pinch was on Shaw, not Leddy.
Hawks obviously have given up on the season.
Yes JS, who was saying that a week ago???
you guys gotta remember….it was all haha, what a crock
wtf?? lemme try that again . guess we cant use ‘pipe’ -vertical lines here??
He said it was all…… SUBLIMINAL !!
I have to say that last nights use of the players that Q is dressing was as good as I could ask of him (given those resources.) If our coach feels he HAS to have 26 and 52 in the lineup, then putting them down as 4-5 minute 4L shifters with Versteeg works for me (in the “best way to maximize what you have on the bench” context.)
Agree that Saads hands have been trouble all series, in fact I thought his game-4 was also iffy and featured way too many TO’s in dangerous zone-entry locations. He’s a strong guy with great future, but someone needs to work with him to soften his hands and develop more moves than the speed/edge and pull-up. Dmen can see it and he is no longer suprising anyone with his lower body strength.
I was watching the game at a bar in Buffalo last night (of all places), and there was not sound on our game. Did the announcers adequately comment on cheap-shot Backes for running 81 into the net? Hack. I swear, Engblom seems so biased I have a hard time listening to him… (maybe it’s just me..)
Sunday will be crazy intense, I had predicted Hawks in a bloody-7, but sure hope I’m wrong and we close it out in the UC…
“Rufus Rustus Johnson Brown, What you gonna do if the Blues go Down”
Oh What you gonna do and what you gonna Say?
That’s the way you spell CHICKEN!” (campfire song)
Best series East or West. Please no Game 7!
OMG, another major heart pounder. I’m so proud of those guys. They continue to show why have been Cup holders. Not sure about the rest of you, but when Tazer received that pass from Keith I really thought he was going to bury it. Johnny just looked so relaxed and predatory while skating in on Miller. Blues fans at the time Toews took that pass had to have let out a collective OHHHNOOOO!!!
Ben Smith was simply amazing last night. Talk about drive, passion, and skill. He is lifting his game to very high levels. What a classy guy. So strong on the puck and his no quit attitude was really inspiring. This guy right now is your 2 center.
Blues had their chances to put that thing away last night. CC was left out to dry too many times, but somehow pucks didn’t go into gaping net. I will go so far as to say the ice looked absolutely terrible at STC. Pucks bouncing and rolling all over the place. Cost Blues more than Hawks I think. It is inexcusable that poor ice conditions are the rule rather the exception in the NHL. There should be a league mandate to force teams to upgrade arena ice infrastructure so that good quality ice conditions can let the players exhibit their talents and make the plays they are capable of.
I think there is something very wrong with Saad. He clearly is not himself in this series, never mind his less than stellar play to close out the regular season. He must be hurt, because never in his entire career has he been uncharacteristically weak on the puck. He does not seem to have his legs strong under him. Not Saad-like. That kid has shown he has a big heart, and a no quit attitude, but his recent efforts pale compared with what he have seen from him. His game was growing until he got hurt late in the season. Hasn’t been the same since. Pity, because he is a very good player that will get even better.
So Backes comes back and pretty much picked up where he left off. Almost kills Hossa after Hoss shot was on its way into the net by crosschecking him just under the crossbar and a possible major injury. Attempt to to inure. Then at the end of the 2nd period he boards Sharp by planting him on the numbers head first into the boards behind the Hawks net. What was Foley looking at? No mention by anyone of this. Another attempt to injure a player. Backes is a good player, but a serial cheap shot artist. Not sure what Doctors cleared Backes, but he looked glassy eyed and wobbly in the 1st.
I thought the refs were terrible last night despite the outcome. End of 2nd period the Blues were brutal trying to take out Kane. Jackman was his usual crosschecking, slashing self. Could have been sent to the box 3-4 times easy last night. I guess this was a “let em play” game. I will always hate Jackman as a player. He and guys like Bieksa drink from the same well. It’s guys that play this way which will keep the St Louis Blues from winning a Stanley Cup. I have said this for years and will continue to do so. Adding Ott and Lapierre only drags down what would otherwise be a really good team. One of the better moments was I think in the 3rd when Ott was messing with Hossa along the boards. Don’t know what a laughing Hoss said but he got Ott to start cracking up. Ott is a career POS.
Happily exhausted this beautiful Chicago morning. Can’t wait for the game tomorrow even though it is a dreaded weekend afternoon start. The UC is going to be rocking and Seabs comes back. Kudos to Brookbank who has filled in admirably. The guy has really put up a laudably solid effort. He and especially Ben Smith are the most improved players of the year. Saad was on that list until his recent troubles.
It will be interesting to see who stays and goes in the off season, but that’s another discussion. Q also better solve the Bollig issue by either playing the guy, or putting Morin, Nordstrom in, and giving them double digit minutes. Right now Bollig is wasted roster spot.
One more boys, and
Lets Go Hawks!
Couple of observations from last night’s game. I have little problem w zus and bollig getting 5 minutes of ice time. They are both specialist so that a good amount for them. Ben Smith continues to amaze me. He’s not big or super skilled, but he’s got a ton of fight to his game. He is a guy good teams have. Hopefully Saad can find the back of the next cause he’s battling too.
As soon as Toews receives that pass the Scotttrade got silent and erupted from hawks fans awesome moment
What an evening last night with the finish coming in such an abrupt manner. Keith’s clearing ‘pass’ defects off a skate straight up the center of the ice to Johnny. It had to be.
The D core was terrific; I’ll say it again…Brooksie is the best 7th man in the league. He’s got the edge, guile and experience that’s irreplaceable for a guy a guy stepping in to fill a big void. Who cannot love Ben Smith? This reminds me of the contributions he made vs.Vancouver several years back. The kid’s a gamer.
Talking about Bollig; face it boys, Q’s not going to make any changes now. The line-up is set through this series.
Strong effort all around, but if the Hawks go deep again and CC keeps playing like this, he’s going to be included in playoff MVP discussions again. Like last year, he had a strong regular season but came up huge in the playoffs. When Kane won it last year, I was in full agreement when he said it should have gone to CC.
A goalie that can put together a complete effort is great, but an adequate goalie in the regular season and a superstar in playoffs is an easy keeper. (Along those lines but for a skater, I hope Bickell earns the big contract he was given after his big playoff performance last year–though I’d say his regular season effort wasn’t even adequate.)
Bollig – 4:18 minutes of ice time
Versteeg – 8:49 minutes of ice time
Handzus – 9:43 minutes of ice time
If Q doesn’t trust those guys, why not play some combination of Morin, Regin, and/or Nordstrom?
To push the point further, out of the 8:49 minutes of ice time, Only 7:23 was full strength for Versteeg. Out of 9:43 minutes for Handzus, only 7:37 was full strength.
I am a die hard Proud Hawks fan for over 35 years, all I can say is we’re very lucky once again to beat the BLUES who just need one “veteran proven scorer to dominate the nhl.” Hawks continue to work and are resilient. The Blues like the AVs out skated the Hawks for the 5th straight game. Sadly a Hawks advantage against slower teams is NOT vs these elite. Th Blues go north to south as a TEAM (read three players ) not swing out wide or drifting but dead on break better than even maybe the AVS. The BLUES d-men have size and move the puck with velocity, strength and speed. North to South they use a simple east west cross ice pass EVERY TIME to clear it and move it. If they had a few “Sharp” shooters pun intended, this over. If we are all watching the same game, The Hawks back checking which is their only real advantage is no more. Hawks are chasing from behind and not catching up and are tired by period 3 in fact exhausted. We are turning the puck over like a High School game. Lots of dumb penalties too make up for it a la Hossa’s grab. They also need to finish the checks, HOSSA has really done that a lot. Bolig will be replaced by Morin ASAP. Bolig is a big benefit but not so much now. Morin has size, speed and will take it to the net. Miller is so average its scary, if the BLUES got Kesler from Vancouver this Blues Team would be playing Boston for the next decade in the Stanley Cup. Hawks just look slow, the passing is just off and timing is off, i had thought we’d have a 5 or 6 minutes spurt of brilliance but not. Give Blues Credit and the AVS will be no different. Hawks need size, Boston is a team full of Bickels and Bick is My God. Love him without him this is over. Look to the future even if we luck into the stanley cup the nhl is catching up in fact passing us up. But Hockey is so luck driven and accident prone and unpredictable anything goes and often does. I just wish the Hawks where playing better so that when the series is over i’d say “damn they played their game and won” not backed into it.
NHL players and all athletes EARN their PAY in the playoffs, when it counts. Meaningless game in November in Ottawa meaning nothing really. These playoffs for real hockey fans allows YOU to see the real value and skill level vs some better more focused and determined opposition. Bick has earned it big time. Crawford is a very good goalie and not even in the top 8 in the NHL but he is pretty damn steady come playoff time and could in fact GET BETTER over time in this league. Hawks last Great Goalie was BELFOURRRRRRRRRRRRRR.
Great post Phil…I too think that something is still clearly wrong with Saad from that injury…but I have no doubts moving forward that this kid is going to be a monster player.
Backes hit Hossa late. He was still 4 feet away from Hoss when the puck had crossed the line. He proceeded to drill Hossa in the back with Hoss’ head just missing the post…BRUTAL and not a word from anyone.
Zebra, BB had a much better season this year, but lost a lot of playing time all season to the ridiculous 3 headed monster we tried to run as the 6th DMan (which didn’t help Leddy at all). But to see BB play so well in these 3 playoff games, is a great vindication for a guy who has kind of struggled here in Chicago for 2 years.
Negzz, I would love to see Morin, Regin AND Nordstrom all get playing time these playoffs. None of them are liabilities at all, and all can skate well, check and drive puck control, which is what we need more of.
Michael, you are right about our back check…it is NOT the same as it was even when we played the Blues late in the regular season as our forwards are tired from such a short bench…restricted minutes for Versteeg and almost non existent 5 on 5 minutes for Bollig and Zus have consequences. This is why we need to insert Morin, Regin and/or Nordstrom moving forward…4 solid lines all driving puck control, and not having to play catch up…
BTW, Crosby gets all the “love” about being the NHL’s best player, but I wouldn’t start a team without Toews as my first choice. IMO he has been the best player in the world for the last 4 and half years. Kane’s a talented player who has grown a lot and has scored a lot of big goals, but Johnny is the tits…
Tab re-tweeted something last night that I didn’t know. Toews volunteered to shorten his name on the Stanley Cup engraving so Jamal Mayers name would fit. There is absolutely nothing to not love about this guy. He’s already almost matched his goal total from last playoffs too.
After a pretty bad game 3, Leddy has been phenomenal the last two games. It also can’t be repeated enough how wonderful of a job Brookbank did filling in for Seabrook.
Brad- are there any more “clutch” superstars in the NHL than Toews and Kane? Back to back OT game winners in must win games, both have a Conn Smythe… oh and two SC rings.
Ben Smith lost a board battle last night. I was very upset at that. I think that made it 30 wins to 1 loss. What a freaking stud.
I think Crawford was battling illness yesterday, or at least dehydration in the second period. He did not look right at all. The Oshie goal was pretty phenomenal and also a good stroke of luck that the puck bounced when he wanted to shoot it. BTW, Ryan Miller’s save percentage is about 18 points lower with the Blues than the Sabers. No one here said that would happen…
If anyone ever questions the heart of this Hawks team again, they need to have a dunce cap super glued to their head.
Oh- on Saad. He hasn’t been the same since the injury but also might just be hitting the wall. Not our Wall, but the wall… although he tried to hit our Wall one time… But yeah, first full season for him so I would guess he’s tired.
Michael Petan-Great obsevations/post at 9:20, couldn’t agree more – and will add… this is why Avs have beaten Hawks this year… cuz the Avs have more/better “finishers” than Blues… so when the Hawks give up that occasional odd man… Avs have ability to make you PAY!!! But then again- others will argue “You can’t have everything” (Big physical D + Physical Fwds + Finishers) w Cap…
AND- The Hawk’s overall speed/backcheck will be better in near future (or Sunday) if some prospects/11/12/42 are allowed to play…imo
Once again my “Eyes” told me that Blues Had Several point blank scoring chances… ( a few more than the Hawks (w Saad having a couple)) and couldn’t finish…
Hawks (w/ slower less skilled 26,52) don’t have the same advantage as last year…
And Like Playoff Basketball, this series is less about the “Fastbreak” and more about the “Half court” execution… “crashing the boards” and bounces…
those 5 or so mins of 26/52 are not a time for me to relax if watching. Some of those def zone draws were tuff viewing. I may just start leaving the room if I see them come on the ice 5v5.
best thing now is to win another close one at home Sun. As much as i would love to see a 4-1, 5-2 win, that would only give the Blues a chance to take liberties with our boys, knowing it’s all but over. I hate to eek out another, enuff already,but it may be best thing in the end.
Really impressed with our ability to block shots this series, i am sure those numbers are well above what we are used to seeing. 4 is a real inspiration. Good job staying out of the box after 1st pd. Need that to stick for g6
JS , I firmly believe Saad is operating at maybe 70% at best. He is not himself on the ice. I can’t quite place what it is. Could be he is just spent, but last year in playoffs he had lots of game if you follow me. Saad is a guy that causes opposing teams fits trying to contain him. He just seems a step slow and not as strong on the puck. I love how his game has grown , but he is struggling right now the way I see it. Hopefully we win this series and he will get back to his old self. He is a big part of this team .
Let’s Go Hawks!
Enough of the complaints and second guessing. In over 50 years of following the Blackhawks I can’t recall consecutive finishes that were more dramatic and satisfying than games 4 and 5. Just enjoy it!
Well put Smitty. An amazing week. Riveting action that we will never forget .
Let’s Go Hawks!
Don’t Taze me bro.
Brookbank the best 7th dman in league because he would be the 6th dman on all other teams. He played really good. We will have to have the lead, so when teams get those odd man rushes were still tied or ahead.
Ben & Jerrys, PeanutButter & Jelly… Whooo is it.
“Crawford is a very good goalie and not even in the top 8 in the NHL but” – REALLY? On what do you base this assessment? Just curious.
I really can’t see Q changing the lineup unless Bollig makes a costly mistake -similar to Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals when he missed the puck in OT and Paille scored.
Great goals by both Toews and Kane in the last two games. Smith was also crazy good and i’m glad he is getting lots of minutes. I thought Brookbank has played well for the last couple of months (as D and not a forward) and has gotten even better in the playoffs. Didn’t CC fall ackwardly trying to make a save and was pretty slow after that. Maybe he tweeked something. Hopefully the Hawks can finish it at home and not have to go back to St. Louis. BTW the AVs haven’t won anything yet and the Wild have looked great and have lots of offensive players.
To add to the Saad mystery, recall that Q benched Saad in the one of last games of the regular seas0n. And when questioned about it, Q mumbled something about a process to motivate players. Would Q be doing that if Saad were hurt? Saad did respond positively then and he had two assists in the first two playoff games. Saad getting pushed off the puck was noticeable in Friday’s game. Perhaps he got hurt in game 3 or 4.
End of Avs-Wild game was insane. Refs no call on a blatant Avs holding that caused a turnover and denial of what would have been a Wild empty net clinching 2 goal lead. Turnover led to Avs tying goal. Avs guy holds Wild player and his stick with Wild guy in control of puck. Avs get puck, bring it back other way, and bam it’s in. If you are a Wild fan, this play will be cemented in forever. Never mind the Avs were also offside on this same play, no call!! Unbelievable. Do a net search and you can watch this replay. You have to root on the Wild to win this series now.
Meanwhile boys, lets win this afternoon at the UC. No prisoners!
Lets Go Hawks!!
Phil- it’s just their playstyle, has nothing to do with luck. ;)
yeah, that was pretty bad in Denver. Hedja probably slept better than he might have after his fail to clear. NMac now 10 pts in 5g
amazing , check out just how similar this series has been for StL compared to last yr vs. LA., thats just weird after 5g
Quick comment to Michael Petan, ask any top athlete, or anyone who has played team sports, and the only games that are “meaningless” come in the preseason or, perhaps, if your standing in the post season is determined.
I think Bickell has the potential to be worth $4M, but his play since signing, reg season and playoffs, is hardly worth $1.5.