(HockeyStL) – It’s been a rough two weeks for the St. Louis Blues, dropping six games in a row and their first playoff game looked to end similarly to the last six. They trailed the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks 3-2 with less than 2 minutes to play Thursday. That is until Jaden Schwartz’s shot found the back of the net, sending the game into overtime.
But it would take three overtime periods for the Blues to win. In what would be the longest game in Blues history, Steve Ott fed a pass back to Alexander Steen who went top shelf over the Blackhawk's goaltender just :26 seconds into the third overtime, giving the Blues a 1-0 series lead.
"Steener's not going to miss it from the ladies tees there," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock, "He's not going to miss that."
To get to overtime though the Note needed a goal and Schwartz’s would finally provide it with only 1:45 left to play in the third period. The Blues weren’t able to convert on their last 16 shots and Schwartz's goal brought the crowd of 19,423 people to their feet.
In their previous 6 games, the Blues were out scored 22-10, but they were the first on the board with a goal from Adam Cracknell. Cracknell’s first playoff goal came just 4:40 into the first period from Chris Porter and Alex Pietrangelo.
Then just over five minutes later, the Chicago Blackhawks would get an equalizer on a goal that would sneak through Ryan Miller’s pad. Miller gave up 3 goals on the first 7 shots he faced, but he would stop the next 35 he faced.
"He got better as the game went on," Hitchcock said of Miller's performance, "From the second period on I thought he was great, outstanding. He saw a lot of rubber today."
In his first game back after missing 15, Vladimir Tarasenko would make his presence known by blocking a shot on his first shift back and then he scored to pull the Blues even with the Hawks at 2-2. He scored from one knee, just a minute after a PP goal from Brent Seabrook, on a great steal by Schwartz and pass from Kevin Shattenkirk.
The Hawks would then go on top on a breakaway shot from Patrick Kane who got behind the defense to beat Miller.
Despite scoring 5 goals in the first period, neither team was able to put the puck in the net until Schwartz's goal late in the third. Hawks net-minder Corey Crawford made an unbelievable save on a wrist shot from Tarasenko with less than 3 minutes left in the third period.
"We were very energetic in the first period offensively, but very lethargic defensively," Hitchcock noted, "We finally saw our team tonight. Regardless of what happened tonight to be able to see our team look like that in the third period was good for us."
In the first overtime, Tarasenko whiffed on an open net look and Vladimir Sobotka took a delay of game penalty at the 13-minute point, but the Hawks were unable to convert. Then in one of the best plays of the season, Maxim Lapierre saved a shot inside the goal behind Miller.
"No we've got to move ahead," said Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, "We knew it was going to be a tough series right from the start and that was illustration of six periods of two teams leaving it out there."
The Hawks and Blues play next on Saturday at 2 p.m.