ST. LOUIS - Patrick Kane finally made his mark in this playoff series by backhanding a puck past Brian Elliott in double overtime to keep the Blackhawks alive winning 4-3.
But it wasn’t a dazzling, highlight reel goal from the Chicago superstar as Elliott continues to hold him at bay.
“He was opportunistic,” were the only words Ken Hitchcock used to describe Kane’s game winning goal. And with good reason since the numbers on the scoreboard didn’t accurately reflect how the Blues were in the driver seat for a majority of the game.
The first period was a stalemate with the Blues outshooting the Hawks 6-4. The Blues didn’t see their first adversity until the second period when they gave up a shorthanded goal to Marian Hossa. However St. Louis came charging back on the ensuing whistle as Jaden Schwartz rockets a slap-shot past Corey Crawford.
The home team faltered further in the second allowing goals to Artem Anisimov and then looked especially bad with less than a second remaining in the period when Artemi Panarin shot the puck into an easy net.
“The second one was tough to give up at the end of the period but we played well,” said Alex Pietrangelo. “We outplayed them. The chances were there but we have to find the back of the net.”
But the Blues wouldn’t go quietly in the third pouncing on the puck to produce two goals to tie the game. It was the line of David Backes, Patrik Berglund and Robby Fabbri that scored both goals and gave the team a chance to clinch the series in front of a standing room only crowd.
“I thought we played a really good first period,” Hitchcock said. “They had a surge a little bit in the second for about seven or eight minutes. We played great in the third. We played a hell of a hockey game.”
Then St. Louis rolled out strong in the first overtime racking up 11 shots but finding it impossible to get anything past Corey Crawford forcing a second overtime. Kane’s goal came just 3:07 into the period.
“I still thought we deserved to win the game,” Pietrangelo said. “I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. I thought we played one of our better games. We deserved to win and we will get ready for the next one. It’s still 3-2.”
Now the series heads back to Chicago for Game 6 and into the United Center where the Blues are starting to feel comfortable.
“It’s going to be a tough place to win but we won the last two there,” Pietrangelo added. “It’s going to be fun here to win in Chicago and that’s the plan now. Their backs are still up against the wall.”
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday.