David Backes leaves after big hit

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
5:21
PM CT

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues forward David Backes left Game 2 of the team's Western Conference first-round playoff series against Chicago after taking a hit by Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in the third period Saturday.

Backes remained on the ice for a short while after the hit and then had trouble standing once he got to his feet. He went to the dressing room and did not return.

Seabrook received a five-minute major penalty for charging and a game misconduct at 15:09 of the third period. He had a goal, an assist and played 23:21 of ice time before leaving.

Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko scored a power-play goal with 6.4 seconds remaining in the third period to tie the game and force overtime. The Blues won when Barret Jackman scored at 5:50 of the extra period.

The Blues lead the series 2-0 after previously picking up a triple-overtime win in Game 1 on Thursday.


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T.J. Oshie back after 3 games

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
2:11
PM CT

ST. LOUIS -- St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie played against the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series on Saturday after missing the last three games due to an upper-body injury.

Oshie has not played since he took a hit to the head against the Minnesota Wild on April 10. He had 21 goals, 39 assists and a plus-19 rating in 79 regular-season games.

Blues forward Patrik Berglund was scratched for Game 2 and missed his third consecutive game with an upper-body injury. He had 14 goals, 18 assists and a plus-10 rating in 78 regular-season games.

Blues coach Ken Hitchcock has said numerous times he expects all of his players to be healthy at some point in the first four games of the series.

Oshie replaced forward Brenden Morrow in the Blues' lineup on Saturday. Morrow played in Game 1.

The Blues defeated the Blackhawks 4-3 in triple overtime of Thursday's Game 1.


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W2W4: Blackhawks vs. Blues (Game 2)

April, 19, 2014
Apr 19
12:46
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face off for Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Scottrade Center on Saturday. The Blues lead the series 1-0. Here’s what to watch for:

• Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn’t reveal prior to the game whether forwards T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund would play in Game 2 after missing Game 1 with injuries. Hitchcock said both players would play at some point in the series.


• The Blackhawks scored three goals within seven minutes and 10 seconds of the first period in Game 1 on Thursday, but failed to score again over the game’s final 82:02. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller stopped the final 35 shots he faced.

• Stamina could come into play in Game 2. Both teams had players play heavy minutes in the three-overtime game. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had a game-high 44:08 of ice time. Duncan Keith led the Blackhawks with 40:59 of ice time.

• The two teams combined for five goals in the first period and two the remainder of the game. Both teams expected the production pace for the rest of the series to be more similar to the second period on.

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• The Blackhawks were able to get behind the Blues several times for breakaways in Game 1. Patrick Kane was the lone Blackhawk to convert on one. Hitchcock thought stopping those were key to the Blues’ success. “We need to be less surprised by numbers behind us,” he said. “If we can do that, we can negate some of the easy ones we gave up because they’re such a good team at 50-50s where you think you’re on offense and the next thing you know there’s a guy standing behind you on a breakaway.”

• All three games between the Blackhawks and Blues in St. Louis included late third-period goals by the Blues. The Blues scored in the final minute of the third period to snatch a 3-2 win in their first game on Oct. 9. The Blues had some late heroics again on Dec. 28 and scored two goals in the final four minutes of the third period to erase a 5-3 deficit. The Blues won 6-5 in a shootout. On Thursday, the Blues tied the game with 1:46 remaining in the third period to force overtime.

• The Blues have excelled in one-goal games this season. They improved to 25-5-7 in such games after Thursday’s win. The Blackhawks are 17-9-15 in one-goal games. The Blackhawks were 9-2 in one-goal games during the playoffs last season.

• The Blackhawks will be looking for more from their power play the rest of the series. They were 1-for-6 on the power play Thursday. The Blackhawks have scored multiple power-play goals just once in the last 25 games. The Blues have allowed their opponents 62 power plays over the last 14 games.

Hawks looking forward after Game 1 loss

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
6:16
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks know better than to believe one game decides a playoff series.

The Blackhawks expressed disappointment again Friday after losing 4-3 in three overtimes to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday and thought there were some lessons to be learned in the defeat, but they weren't panicking.

[+] EnlargeJoel Quenneville
Billy Hurst/CSMCoach Joel Quenneville and the Hawks aren't going to let a Game 1 loss hurt their focus as they look to even the series in St. Louis.
"It's the first game," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said Friday. "Back and forth game, a few chances on either side. It was a pretty physical game. The series will get tougher and harder as we move along. But I think both sides have experience. Certainly in our locker room we're comfortable drawing on past experiences and what we've been through before. We've been down 1-0 in the playoff series before. We know what it takes to win on the road and to steal a game, so we're trying to do that [on Saturday]."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn't have to look far back to remember a time when his team responded after losing the first game on the road in the playoffs. The Blackhawks dropped the first road game against the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins on their way to the Stanley Cup last season.

"We'll move forward," Quenneville said Friday. "Certainly you'll take your lumps from last night. It's a short night when you play six periods of hockey, not a full six, and I'm sure the guys are going be a little bit tired today, but we'll have a meeting here shortly and get ourselves excited.

"But we've gone through some stretches where we've lost opening games. We've lost last year all four first games in their buildings and seemed to recover. That's something we can build on. It's a long series. We expected a tough series against this team. There's going to be no easy games, but it's a good example that going forward we've got to find a way to overcome our opponents."

The Blackhawks did respond with road wins in the playoffs last season, but they also had the luxury of home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. That's not the case this season. They'll need to win at least once in St. Louis to take the series from the Blues.

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Joel Quenneville fined $25,000

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
5:29
PM CT
video

The NHL has fined Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville $25,000 for inappropriate conduct during Thursday's first-round playoff game against the St. Louis Blues.

The puck was sent out of play at 6:51 of the second overtime of the Blues' 4-3 three-overtime win. The officials were meeting to discuss whether the Blues should be called for delay of game after a player apparently shot the puck over the glass and out of play, a penalty that would have given the Blackhawks a 5-on-3 advantage for 36 seconds.

Asked Saturday about the fine, Quenneville replied, "I can't complain. It was a stupid move on my part."

Quenneville was seen on camera gesturing to the officials that the puck went over the glass. When the call went against the Blackhawks, Quenneville appeared to grab his groin area and yell something at the officials.

Quenneville apologized for his actions earlier Friday.

"I was definitely excited," he said. "Disappointed [in] the call, but I'll apologize for my behavior. It wasn't appropriate at all. It was a bush-league move on my part."

Information from ESPNChicago.com's Scott Powers was used in this report.


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Lapierre's stop saves Blues, haunts Hawks

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
5:22
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and St. Louis Blues goaltender Ryan Miller combined for 87 saves in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series Thursday, but the save that had everyone still talking Friday was the one made by Blues forward Maxim Lapierre.

Blackhawks forward Kris Versteeg shot the puck from the left circle past Miller late in the first overtime, but Lapierre was standing behind Miller to prevent the goal. The puck bounced off Lapierre and redirected away from the net. He ended up there after being accidentally knocked into that spot by Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad. The save kept the game going and eventually the Blues won in a third overtime.

“It may have been the save of the night, and [Miller had 39 saves,]” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said Friday. “But that was pretty special to see that. Someone’s going to need to come up with those type of hockey plays. They had a few guys who made some big plays, too. Still can’t figure out why he was in that spot.”

Versteeg still couldn’t believe it either.

“That was a bit of a late bedtime because you do think about what ifs,” Versteeg said Friday. “You do try to block them out, though. You can’t change the past. You did everything you wanted to do.

“It was a great pass and the shot was going in, and unfortunately it did hit him and it came out kind of funny too. Usually you think it’d stick there and you have guys keep banging around in the crease. Those are things that’ll happen throughout the series.”

Versteeg threw his arms in the air after his shot, but it wasn’t because he thought he had scored.

“It wasn’t a celebration,” Versteeg said. “I think it was more of, ‘What the heck just happened.’ My hands went in the air like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ Hopefully saving [the goal] for another game.”
video

Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said Friday the Blackhawks were moving on from Thursday's three-overtime loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Oshie's return still uncertain for Blues

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
3:58
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- St. Louis Blues forward T.J. Oshie is expected to return from an upper-body injury sometime during the Western Conference first-round series against the Chicago Blackhawks, but Blues coach Ken Hitchcock is still unsure when that will be.

Oshie
Oshie missed Game 1 on Thursday and as of Friday afternoon is not expected to play in Saturday's Game 2.

"Until someone taps me on the shoulder and says he's a game player, he's out," Hitchcock said on Friday. "Our lineup is going to be fluid every day. Every day it's going to be fluid. I told you guys before we're going to have everybody play in this series at some period of time. That obviously means by Game 5 we expect everybody be ready to go. Hopefully nobody gets injured. Touch wood, but that's our expectation."

Oshie has missed the Blues' past three games due to the injury. He took a hit to the head against the Minnesota Wild on April 10 and has not played since then. He had 21 goals, 39 assists and a plus-19 rating in 79 regular season games.

The Blues were also without forward Patrik Berglund due to an upper-body injury in Game 1. He has missed two consecutive games due to the injury. He had 14 goals, 18 assists and a plus-10 rating in 78 regular-season games.

Hitchcock said he'd likely have a better idea of the injured players' status on Saturday morning.

"We kind of know every morning, the game day, who's in," Hitchcock said. "Today was a good day for the guys that were out, another good day. We'll see how they feel tomorrow."

The Blues defeated the Blackhawks 4-3 in three overtimes in Game 1 of the series on Thursday.

Teravainen likely joining Finland for Worlds

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
2:54
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teravainen will most likely join Team Finland on Monday in preparation for the upcoming IIHF World Championship, according to a source.

The 19-year-old Teravainen, who is considered the Blackhawks' top prospect, was recalled by the Blackhawks from Jokerit in Finland's Liiga on March 21. He played three games for the Blackhawks before being reassigned to the Rockford IceHogs of the AHL on April 10. He has one goal and a plus-1 rating in three games for the IceHogs. The IceHogs will complete their regular season on Saturday.

The Blackhawks sent Teravainen to the AHL to get more ice time. He was a healthy scratch in the Blackhawks' four games prior to him being assigned to the IceHogs.

Teravainen said Sunday he believed he could play in the NHL now, but he understood the Blackhawks' decision.

"I think I can play in that league right now," Teravainen said to ESPNChicago.com on Sunday. "I have played with men in Finland for 2-3 years, so I'm ready to play there. I think I played OK, but I think it's not enough. I can play there, but it'll take some time getting used to this league and this North American hockey. It's different than European hockey. Like I said, I'm just learning every day here and just trying to help this team."

The IIHF World Championship will begin on May 9 in Minsk, Belarus. Teravainen helped Finland to a gold medal in the IIHF World Junior Championship in January.

Quenneville fined $25K for gesture

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
11:54
AM CT
video

ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville apologized Friday for his behavior on the bench during the second overtime of Thursday night's Game 1 of a Western Conference first-round series against the St. Louis Blues.

The officials were meeting to discuss whether the Blues should be called for delay of game after the puck was sent out of play at 6:51 of the second overtime. A penalty would have given the Blackhawks a 5-on-3 advantage for 36 seconds.

Quenneville was seen on camera gesturing to the officials that the puck went over the glass. When the call went against the Blackhawks, Quenneville appeared to grab his groin area and yell something at the officials.

"I was definitely excited," Quenneville said Friday. "Disappointed [in] the call, but I'll apologize for my behavior. It wasn't appropriate at all. It was a bush-league move on my part."

After a review of the Quenneville's actions, he was fined $25,000 by the NHL.

Asked Saturday about the fine, Quenneville replied, "I can't complain. It was a stupid move on my part."

Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said he saw a highlight of Quenneville and thought it was an example of his coach's competitive spirit on the bench.

"Joel's a passionate coach, and he's intense on the bench," Sharp said. "We certainly feel that as players. I think sometimes he wants to get his skates on and go out there and play with us. He's got a fire behind the bench that really filters through the team and makes us play that much better."

The Blues won, 4-3, when Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into the third overtime.


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By the numbers: Hawks-Blues Game 1

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
11:18
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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ST. LOUIS – Here's a look at the St. Louis Blues' 4-3 three-overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday by the numbers:

• After scoring three goals within 7 minutes and 10 seconds in the first period, the Blackhawks didn't score in the game's final 82 minutes and two seconds.

• Blues goaltender Ryan Miller allowed three goals on the Blackhawks' first seven shots on net. He stopped the next 35.

• Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith played 40-plus minutes for the third time in his career. He played 40:59 on Thursday. He played 40:12 against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals last season and a career-high 48:40 against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals last season.

• Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson played a game-high 61 shifts. He also had a game-high six blocked shots.

• The game was the longest in the Blues' history. Their previous longest game lasted 37:07 into overtime against the Detroit Red Wings in 1984.

• The Blues had 103 total shot attempts, including 52 on goal, and the Blackhawks had 84 shot attempts, including 42 on goal.

• The Blues allowed six more power plays due to penalties on Thursday. Their opponents have had 62 power plays over the last 14 games, killing off 53. By comparison, the Blackhawks have allowed 36 power plays in their last 14 games

• Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo led everyone in ice time, playing 44:08.

• Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford's 48 saves were a season-high. He set a career-high with 51 saves against the Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals last season.

• The Blackhawks scored one power-play goal on six opportunities. They have scored multiple power-play goals just once in the last 25 games. The last time was against the Blues on March 19. The Blackhawks also had five shots on goal during their power plays on Thursday.

• The Blues had 10 forwards with possession numbers better than 50 percent in 5-on-5 situations, and the Blackhawks had five, according to extraskater.com.

Patrick Sharp is the lone Blackhawks forward to have positive possession numbers in all six games against the Blues this season, according to extraskater.com. He had a 54.2 Corsi percentage (the Blackhawks had 26 shots for and 22 against when he was on the ice in 5-on-5 situations) on Thursday. He hasn't had a Corsi percentage lower than 54 percent against the Blues this season and has a 56.3 Corsi (112 shots for, 87 against) in all six games.

• The Blackhawks won 62-of-109 faceoffs. Jonathan Toews led the Blackhawks by winning 21-of-32 faceoffs. The Blues had five players who won less than 50 percent of their faceoffs.

• The Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko and Chris Porter tied for a game-high seven shots on goal.

• Toews led the Blackhawks' forwards with 32:37 of ice time. He had missed the team's last six games. Patrick Kane, who was out the last 12 games, played 28:31.

• The longest game in Blackhawks' history took 53:50 to decide in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens on April 9, 1931. Thursday's game lasted 40:26 of overtime.

Breaking down the Conn Smythe race 

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
11:28
AM CT
Custance By Craig Custance
ESPNChicago.com
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Tuukka RaskBrian Babineau/NHLI/Getty ImagesConn Smythe Trophy favorite Tuukka Rask has proven solid in past postseason play.
It must have seemed like an eternity, but the wait is almost over for Boston Bruins fans, who finally get to see their team make its 2014 postseason debut tonight against the Detroit Red Wings. It’s the final first-round series to begin, and it has a couple of players who are among our favorites to win the Conn Smythe Trophy -- awarded to the most valuable player during the Stanley Cup playoffs.

The Bruins are ESPN.com’s consensus pick to win the Stanley Cup, in part because of their potentially easier path through the playoffs. If it happens, it’ll come with recognition for the Bruins' stars. Earlier this week, Bovada released its Conn Smythe odds -- here’s a look at some of the most intriguing choices before the betting lines shift too much:

 

Best bets among the favorites


Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (12-1)
Goalies are always a safe pick when it comes to the Conn Smythe, winning it 40 percent of the time over the last 10 postseasons. Last year, Patrick Kane prevented a third straight goalie from winning, although if he had a vote, he would have given it to teammate Corey Crawford. You don’t win a Stanley Cup without a strong performance from a goalie, and Rask is a proven playoff performer on a team that has the best path to the Stanley Cup finals.

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Blues have Blackhawks' number late, again

April, 18, 2014
Apr 18
1:18
AM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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video

ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks experienced the familiar feeling Thursday of almost defeating the St. Louis Blues in the Scottrade Center.

Three times the Blackhawks have been in position in the final period to knock off the Blues in their building this season, and three times the Blues have crushed the Blackhawks’ spirits with late victories.

Thursday’s 4-3, three-overtime loss to the Blues in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series certainly hurt the Blackhawks much more than the previous two.

[+] EnlargeSt. Louis Blues
Mark Buckner/NHLI/Getty ImagesThe above sentiment is becoming more commonplace for the Blues late in games against the Blackhawks at St. Louis.
The Blackhawks led 3-2 for nearly 40 minutes and had the finish line in sight as the game clock was down to the final two minutes of the third period on Thursday. But just as the Blues proved in their two regular-season meetings in St. Louis, their fight wouldn’t cease until game’s end.

The Blues had been the dominant team throughout the third period as the Blackhawks tried to protect their one-goal lead, and with 1:45 remaining in the third period, the Blues were rewarded for their effort. It was then Jaden Schwartz struck the puck past Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford to tie the game at three and ultimately force overtime. The Blues finished the job when Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into the third overtime.

"They’re pressing," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said of the Blues in the third period. "They’re pinching. They’re aggressive. They’re gambling. They had some opportunities there. We almost got through it."

"Almost" is a prevailing feeling for the Blackhawks against the Blues at the Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks almost topped the Blues when they first met in St. Louis this season on Oct. 9, but the Blues scored in the final minute of the third period and won 3-2. When they next met in St. Louis on Dec. 28, the Blackhawks were leading 5-3 in the third period before the Blues rallied with two goals in the final four minutes, forced overtime and won in a shootout.

Quenneville wasn’t oblivious to the similarities.

"We were close to getting it done," Quenneville said. "It was just like the last two games in this building here."

The Blackhawks had some quality opportunities in the third period to extend their lead to two goals. The Blues gave the Blackhawks two power plays in the last 15 minutes, but they didn’t get a single shot on net off either of them. The Blues had 14 shots on goal to the Blackhawks’ six in the third period.

Quenneville played the two power plays in the third period safe by placing two defensemen on each unit in case the Blues created a short-handed chance. He didn’t regret that.

"We’ve done that all year," Quenneville said. "We didn’t change anything on the timing or the score and the situation."

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane felt his team might have been holding onto the puck too long and trying to contain the lead too much late in the game.

"Maybe a little bit, for sure, especially the last 5-10 minutes," Kane said. "I know we had a couple power plays where we could have maybe scored, made it 4-2, which would have been nice. It didn’t work out that way.

"We’ll try to get the power play going a little bit better and capitalize on our opportunities there. Definitely would have been nice to get another one and give us a little bit [of] insurance."

The Blackhawks don’t have much time to dwell on their loss. The teams return to the same building for Game 2 at 2 p.m. CT on Saturday. Kane believes that might be a good thing.

"It stings right now, obviously," Kane said. "The big thing for us is we got to realize it’s only one game. We obviously got a quick turnaround playing an afternoon game coming up.

"That’s the best part of it; we can get back at it and figure out what we can do better."

Rapid Reaction: Blues 4, Hawks 3 (F/3OT)

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
11:53
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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video

ST. LOUIS -- Here’s a quick look at the St. Louis Blues’ 4-3 three-overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 1 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Scottrade Center on Thursday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks and Blues set the bar high for the remainder of the series. The Blues’ Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into the third overtime for the win. The Blackhawks looked to have the game secured in regulation. They were leading 3-2 heading into the final two minutes of the third period. Jaden Schwartz saved the Blues by scoring in front of the net with 1:56 remaining in the third period. The Blackhawks had been leading 3-2 since the end of the first period. Patrick Kane broke a 2-2 tie at 18:24 of the first period, when he received a stretch pass from Jonathan Toews and scored on a breakaway. The Blackhawks’ Johnny Oduya and Brent Seabrook and the Blues’ Adam Cracknell and Vladimir Tarasenko also scored first-period goals. The Blackhawks nearly won the game in the first overtime, but Blues forward Maxim Lapierre blocked a Blackhawks’ shot while standing behind goaltender Ryan Miller in the net. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 48 saves on 52 shots. Miller made 39 saves on 42 shots. The Blackhawks failed to score on two overtime power plays, and the Blues squandered one overtime power-play opportunity of their own.

What it means: The Blues went up 1-0 in the series and held onto their home-ice advantage. The Blues have scored a number of clutch third-period goals against the Blackhawks this season. The Blues pulled out a 3-2 win over the Blackhawks by scoring in the final minute of the third period on Oct. 9. The Blues came back from a 5-3 deficit when they scored two goals in the final four minutes of the third period on Dec. 28, then won in the shootout. The Blues’ win on Thursday marked their first victory since April 3.

Both teams benefited in getting some of their top players back. Tarasenko had missed the previous 15 games for the Blues. Kane was out the previous 12 games, and Toews missed six games. The Blackhawks’ top line of Toews, Kris Versteeg and Brandon Saad was especially effective for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks won 54-of-91 faceoffs.

Player of the game: Steen scored the winning goal.

Stat of the game: Blues defensemen Alex Pietrangelo played a game-high 44:08 of ice time.

What’s next: The series remains in St. Louis for Game 2, at 2 p.m. CT Saturday.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26