Chicago Blackhawks: Rapid Reaction

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Kings 3

May, 30, 2014
May 30
10:47
PM CT
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LOS ANGELES -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals at Staples Center on Friday:

How it happened: Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane broke a 3-3 tie and scored the winning goal at 16 minutes, 15 seconds of the third period. Chicago faced a 3-2 deficit earlier in the period when Kane found Duncan Keith in the slot for a goal 11:34. The Kings had gone ahead by scoring two goals within 2:06 of each other. Drew Doughty tied the game 2-2 with a shot in the deep slot at 5:32, and then set up Alec Martinez for a power-play goal at 7:38. The Blackhawks went to the second intermission up 2-1 on goals by Kane and Ben Smith in the second period. Dwight King scored the game’s first goal at 17:03 of the first period. The Blackhawks were 1-for-2 on the power play, as were the Kings. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 26 saves on 29 shots. Kings counterpart Jonathan Quick saved 21 of 25.

What it means: The Blackhawks evened the series at 3-3 after being down 3-1. Chicago has a chance to become the 25th team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a series since the NHL expanded all rounds to best-of-seven series in 1987. The Blackhawks did so last season against the Detroit Red Wings. The Blackhawks improved to 12-0 in Games 5-7 over the past two seasons, including 6-0 in this season. They defeated the Kings at home for the first time in the series. The Kings also hadn’t lost in a Game 6 or 7 this season in the playoffs prior to Friday.

Player of the game: Kane got himself going in Game 5 and continued it in Game 6. He had two goals and one assist. He has seven points in the past two games.

Stat of the game: Kane played 27 shifts and 20:40 of ice time.

What’s next: The series returns to Chicago for Game 7 on Sunday. The Blackhawks are 8-1 at the United Center in the playoffs this season.

Rapid Reaction: Hawks 5, Kings 4 (F/2OT)

May, 28, 2014
May 28
10:58
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 5-4 double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals at the United Center on Wednesday:

How it happened: Michal Handzus scored the winner off a pass from Brandon Saad at 2:04 in the second overtime. The Blackhawks forced the first overtime when Ben Smith scored the lone goal in the third period at 1:13. The Kings had built a 4-3 lead after finding themselves two goals behind in the first period. After the Blackhawks went up 3-1 in the first period, the Kings responded with three consecutive goals, one in the first period and two in the second period. Marian Gaborik, Dustin Brown and Tanner Pearson scored the three goals for the Kings. The Blackhawks got the start they wanted, scoring twice in the first four minutes. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook scored a power-play goal at 1:13, and Johnny Oduya knocked in a rebound from a Patrick Kane shot at 3:40. Jarret Stoll gave the Kings their first goal at 9:40, but less than two minutes later the Blackhawks responded as Saad put them back ahead 3-1. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 41 saves on 45 shots. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 40 of 45 shots.

What it means: The Blackhawks held off elimination and cut the Kings’ series lead to 3-2. The Blackhawks were given a scare as the Kings erased their two-goal lead and pulled ahead of them after two periods, but the Blackhawks, especially Crawford, stepped up when they needed to in the game. Crawford didn’t allow a goal after the Kings scored at 13:08 of the second period. The Blackhawks also bounced back after struggling on special teams in the past few games. They scored a power-play goal for the first time in three games and shut out the Kings’ power play for the first time since Game 1. The Blackhawks’ second line of Saad-Andrew Shaw-Kane was a force most of the game.

Player of the game: Saad was all over the ice for the Blackhawks. He had one goal, two assists, seven shots on net, three hits, three takeaways, two blocked shots, was a plus-4 and won 4 of 8 faceoffs.

Stat of the game: Crawford stopped 19 shots over the last three periods.

What’s next: The series returns to Los Angeles for Game 6 at 8 p.m. CT on Friday. The Kings defeated the Blackhawks in Games 3 and 4 in Los Angeles and are 5-3 at home in the playoffs this season.

Rapid Reaction: Kings 5, Blackhawks 2

May, 26, 2014
May 26
10:46
PM CT
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LOS ANGELES -- Here’s a quick look at the Los Angeles Kings' 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals at Staples Center on Monday:

How it happened: The Kings jumped on the Blackhawks with three goals in the first period and built a 4-0 lead before Chicago was able to score. Jake Muzzin opened the Kings’ scoring with a power-play goal at the 9-minute mark of the first period. Two minutes, 13 seconds later, Marian Gaborik finished a pass from Anze Kopitar and the Kings went ahead 2-0. Dustin Brown scored another power-play goal for the Kings at 15:56 of the first period. Drew Doughty gave the Kings a 4-0 lead with a second-period goal. Brandon Saad put the Blackhawks on the board at 14:03 of the second. Bryan Bickell pulled the Blackhawks within two goals at 9:27 of the third before Los Angeles scored an empty-net goal with 1:02 to play. The Kings were 2-for-3 on the power play and shut out the Blackhawks on three opportunities of their own. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick made 22 saves on 24 shots. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 16 of 20 shots. Kings forward Jarret Stoll won 16 of 24 faceoffs.

What it means: The Kings won their third consecutive game and took a 3-1 lead in the series. A team has fought back from a 3-1 deficit to win a series 24 times since the NHL expanded all rounds to best-of-seven in 1987. The Blackhawks rallied from a 3-1 series deficit to defeat the Detroit Red Wings in the second round last season. The Kings have scored 14 goals in the past three games. The Kings took advantage of special teams again. Gaborik scored his 10th goal of the playoff and his first against the Blackhawks.

Player of the game: Doughty had a goal and an assist. He led the Kings in ice time and was one of the reasons why the Blackhawks were held to two goals.

Stat of the game: The Kings scored on two power plays. They have scored five power-play goals in the past three games. The Blackhawks had allowed four power-play goals in their previous 13 playoff games this season.

What’s next: The series returns to Chicago for Wednesday night's Game 5. The Blackhawks are 7-1 at home in the playoffs this season; the Kings handed them their lone loss in Game 2.

Rapid Reaction: Kings 6, Blackhawks 2

May, 21, 2014
May 21
10:01
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Los Angeles Kings’ 6-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals at the United Center on Wednesday.

How it happened: The Kings rallied from a 2-0 deficit to score six consecutive goals to beat the Blackhawks. The Kings began their comeback in the second period, when Justin Williams scored in front of the net at 18:14. The Kings turned to their power play to score the next two goals. Jeff Carter scored on a power play at 1:37, and Carter capitalized on another Blackhawks’ penalty when he scored a power-play goal at 4:04. The Kings added two more goals with Tyler Toffoli scoring at 8:59 and Carter at 14:44. Carter finished off his hat trick with an empty-net goal. The Blackhawks built a 2-0 lead behind a power-play goal by Nick Leddy in the first period and a goal by Ben Smith in the second period. The Blackhawks were 1-for-4 on the power play, and the Kings were 2-for-4. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 23-of-25 shots. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford had 25 saves on 30 shots.

What it means: The Kings evened the series 1-1. The Kings gave the Blackhawks their first loss at home in the playoffs. The Blackhawks had won their first seven home playoff games. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill had allowed just four goals over the first 13 games of the playoffs. They were 44-of-48 on the penalty kill coming into the game. Quick kept the Kings in the game when the Blackhawks had multiple quality chances in the first two periods. He’s allowed a total of 13 goals in the Kings’ nine playoff wins.

Player of the game: Carter scored a hat trick in the third period.

Stat of the game: The Kings won 43-of-70 faceoffs.

What’s next: The series moves to Los Angeles for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 will be at Staples Center at 7 p.m. CT on Saturday. The Kings are 3-3 at home in the playoffs.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 3, Kings 1

May, 18, 2014
May 18
5:05
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals at the United Center on Sunday.

How it happened: Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith broke a 1-1 tie when his slap shot from near the blue line was deflected and bounced high into the net at 11:54 of the second period. The Blackhawks held a one-goal advantage until Jonathan Toews gave them a 3-1 lead at 16:10 of the third period. The Kings had tied the game 1-1 early in the second period when Tanner Pearson connected with Tyler Toffoli in front of the net for a goal at 4:35. The goal came 1:13 after the Blackhawks had a goal disallowed following a review. Brandon Saad scored Chicago's first goal when he deflected a shot by Nick Leddy into the net on a power play at 14:46 of the first period. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 25 saves on 26 shots. Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick stopped 17 of 20 shots. The Blackhawks were 1-for-2 on the power play, while the Kings were 0-for-2.

What it means: The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead in the series. They remained perfect at home in the playoffs, improving to 7-0 at the United Center. Possession favored the Kings in the final two periods. Crawford had a few highlight saves to help counter the Kings’ shot advantage. The Blackhawks were also fortunate Toffoli didn’t score when he had a breakaway and beat Crawford in the third period. Toffoli’s backhanded shot hit the post.

Player of the game: Crawford stepped up again. He held the Kings to one goal. He has held opponents to two goals or less in eight playoff games this season.

Stat of the game: Crawford stopped 16 of 17 shots in the second period.

What’s next: The series will take two days off before resuming for Game 2 in Chicago on Wednesday.

Rapid Reaction: Hawks 2, Wild 1 (OT)

May, 13, 2014
May 13
11:25
PM CT
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ST. PAUL, Minn. -– Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2-1 overtime win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 6 of their Western Conference second-round series at the Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

How it happened: Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored the game-winning goal at 9:42 in overtime. The Blackhawks got the start they wanted. Kris Versteeg gave them a 1-0 advantage when he scored 1:58 into the game. The Wild answered in the second period when Erik Haula skated past three Blackhawks for a loose puck and finished on the breakaway. The Wild put Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford to work in the second period. They had 14 shots on net. Crawford stopped 13 of them. He finished with 34 saves on 35 shots. Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 25 saves on 27 shots.

What it means: The Blackhawks won the series 4-2 and advance to the Western Conference finals for the fourth time in the last six seasons. The Wild hadn’t lost at home in the playoffs. They had won their first five home games prior to Tuesday. The Blackhawks improved to 12-2 in games in which they clinch a series in the past six seasons. They also improved to 10-4 when on the road in Games 4-7 in their last nine series. Both teams had four overtime games in the first round. The Blackhawks improved to 3-2 in overtime playoff games this season.

Player of the game: Crawford was the difference for the Blackhawks. He stopped a number of quality chances by the Wild.

Stat of the game: The Wild were 0-for-3 on the power play. The Blackhawks killed 15 of 17 power plays in the series.

What’s next: The Blackhawks will await the winner of the Anaheim Ducks-Los Angeles Kings series. The Ducks lead the series 3-2. The Ducks would have home-ice advantage over the Blackhawks, and the Blackhawks would have it over the Kings.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 2, Wild 1

May, 11, 2014
May 11
10:55
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 2-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of their Western Conference second-round series at the United Center on Sunday.

How it happened: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews broke a 1-1 tie when he scored with a backhanded shot while battling for the puck in front of the net at 4:33 of the third period. The Blackhawks held the one-goal lead for the remainder of the third period. The Wild got on the board first when forward Erik Haula skated through Chicago's defense and scored at 16:33 of the first period. The Blackhawks ignited their offense in the second period. They had 15 shots on goal in the second period. They were rewarded for their effort when Bryan Bickell redirected a Patrick Kane shot into the net for a power-play goal at 9:18. The Blackhawks were 1-for-2 on the power play, and the Wild were 0-for-1. Chicago forward Patrick Sharp had a secondary assist on both goals. Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 26 saves on 28 shots. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford saved 27 of 28 shots.

What it means: The Blackhawks took a 3-2 lead in the series. They remain unbeaten at home in the playoffs, improving to 6-0 at the United Center. They also snapped a two-game losing streak. The Blackhawks hadn’t had more than 22 shots on net in a game through the series’ first four games. They had 21 shots on goal through two periods on Sunday and finished with 28.

Player of the game: Toews had one of his worst possession games of the season in Game 4 and bounced back in a big way. He now has four game-winning goals in the playoffs this season.

Stat of the game: Toews and Michal Handzus each won 12 faceoffs and lost eight.

What’s next: The series returns to Minnesota for Game 6 on Tuesday. The Wild are 5-0 at the Xcel Energy Center in the playoffs this season.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 4, Wild 1

May, 4, 2014
May 4
4:51
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 2 of their Western Conference second-round series at the United Center on Sunday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks held on to a one-goal lead for much of the third period until Bryan Bickell gave them more of a cushion late in the period. Bickell scored at 17:15 of the third period to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead. Brandon Saad added an empty-net goal to make it 4-1. The Blackhawks went up 1-0 when Jonathan Toews cleaned up a rebound from Marian Hossa at the net at 11:02 of the first period. Saad gave them a 2-0 lead when he scored from the high slot with 56 seconds remaining in the second period. The Wild’s Cody McCormick then cut the Blackhawks’ advantage to one when he scored at 2:00 of the third period. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 18 saves on 19 shots, while Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 18 of 21 shots.

What it means: The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead in the series and held on to home-ice advantage. They also have won their past six games. Crawford continues to step up for the Blackhawks, as he's allowed nine goals over the past six games. Hossa had three assists in the win and has six assists in the playoffs.

Player of the game: Bickell was a difference-maker again with a goal and two assists. He has five goals in the playoffs.

Stat of the game: The Wild had 13 shots on goal in the second period. They were held to six shots on net in the other two periods.

What’s next: The series moves to Minnesota for Game 3 on Tuesday.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 5, Wild 2

May, 2, 2014
May 2
11:33
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal series at the United Center on Friday.

How it happened: Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane broke a 2-2 tie with a backhanded shot from the right circle at 8:22 of the third period. Kane's goal came just after the Wild fought back from a 2-0 deficit and tied the score with two goals early in the third period. Clayton Stoner scored the first goal at 2:19 of the third period for the Wild, and Kyle Brodziak scored the second one at 6:56. Kane scored another goal at 16:47 of the third period to give the Blackhawks a 4-2 lead, and Bryan Bickell had an empty-net goal for the final score. The Blackhawks utilized their power play to go ahead 2-0. Bickell redirected a shot from Brent Seabrook into the net for a power-play goal at 14:48 of the first period. The Blackhawks added to their lead when Brandon Saad delivered a backhanded pass through traffic and connected with Marian Hossa at the net for another power-play goal at 11:21 of the second period. Hossa had a goal and two assists. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 30 of 32 shots. Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov made 17 saves. Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw left the game because of a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return.

What it means: The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead in the series and continued to possess home-ice advantage. The Blackhawks' power play struggled against the St. Louis Blues and converted on 3 of 20 chances in the first round. The Blackhawks nearly equaled that goal total Friday. The Blackhawks' penalty kill continued its success. After killing 27 of 29 penalties against the Blues, they killed all three of the Wild's power plays in Game 1.

Player of the game: Kane came through again. He has five goals in seven playoff games this season.

Stat of the game: The Wild outshot the Blackhawks 17-3 in the second period, but the Blackhawks outscored the Wild 1-0 in the period.

What's next: The series remains in Chicago for Game 2 on Sunday afternoon.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 5, Blues 1

April, 27, 2014
Apr 27
5:04
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 5-1 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 6 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Sunday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks scored two goals in the first 2:01 of the third period to gain control of the game. The teams were tied 1-1 after two periods. Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews broke the tie when he scored a power-play goal 44 seconds into the third period. He had three game-winning goals in the series. One minute, 17 seconds later, Patrick Sharp gave the Blackhawks a 3-1 lead by scoring on a breakaway. Andrew Shaw tipped in a Duncan Keith shot to put the Blackhawks ahead 4-1 at 7:30 of the period. Keith scored the game’s final goal. The Blackhawks limited the Blues to one goal in the second period despite the Blues outshooting them 17-3. The Blues went 0-for-6 on the power play for the game. The Blackhawks took a 1-0 lead when Bryan Bickell redirected a shot by Brent Seabrook at 4:12 of the first period. Seabrook had the missed the previous three games due to a suspension. The Blues tied the game 1-1 when Alexander Steen set up T.J. Oshie in front of the net at 16:28 of the first period. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 35 saves, and Blues goaltender Ryan Miller made 22 saves.

What it means: The Blackhawks won the series 4-2 and eliminated the Blues. It’s the second consecutive season where the Blues built a 2-0 lead in their first-round series and lost the next four games. The Blackhawks improved to 11-2 in games where they have had an opportunity to close out a series in coach Joel Quenneville’s six seasons. It was the first game in the series decided by more than two goals. Four of the six games went to overtime. The Blackhawks’ penalty kill stepped up throughout the series. The Blues were 2-for-29 on the power play in the six games. Sharp’s goal was his first of the series.

Player of the game: Keith had a goal, three assists and a plus-3 rating.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks killed off all 10 minutes of the Blues’ power-play time.

What’s next: The Blackhawks now await their second-round opponent. They will play the winner of the Minnesota Wild-Colorado Avalanche series. The Avalanche lead the Wild 3-2 with Game 6 coming on Monday. The Blackhawks went 2-3-0 against the Wild in the regular season and 1-3-1 against the Avalanche. The Avalanche would have home-ice advantage over the Blackhawks, and the Blackhawks would have it over the Wild.

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

April, 23, 2014
Apr 23
11:58
PM CT
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CHICAGO -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 4-3 overtime win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Wednesday.

How it happened: Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane scored the winning goal at 11:17 of overtime. Both teams previously led in the game. The Blackhawks built a 2-0 lead in the second period behind a power-play goal by Andrew Shaw and a goal by Kane. The Blues responded with two goals in the final 1:09 of the second period. Vladimir Tarasenko first scored a power-play goal from the left circle at 18:51. Max Lapierre tied the game with a shot from the right circle with 3.1 seconds remaining in the period. Tarasenko broke the 2-2 tie when he scored from the right circle off a 2-on-1 rush at 12:26 of the third period. Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell tied the game at 3-3 when he redirected a shot by Michal Rozsival into the net with 3:42 remaining in the third period. Chicago gave St. Louis five power plays, and the Blues capitalized on one of them. The Blackhawks were 1-for-2 on the power play. St. Louis goaltender Ryan Miller made 30 saves, and Chicago's Corey Crawford had 30 saves.

What it means: It wasn’t easy, but the Blackhawks took care of business in Chicago. The Blackhawks won both of their games at the United Center after dropping the first two games in St. Louis. The Blackhawks still face the challenge of winning in the Scottrade Center with the Blues having home-ice advantage. The Blackhawks won their first overtime game of the series after dropping Games 1 and 2 in OT. Seven of the Blues’ 11 goals in the series have been scored in either the final two minutes of a period or in overtime. Chicago has killed off 19 of 21 power plays in the series. Jonathan Toews had two assists in the win and has five points in the series.

Player of the game: Kane had by far his best game of the series. He started the sequence on the power-play goal, finished a pass from Johnny Oduya for the second goal and then scored the winner. He has three goals and four points in the series.

Stat of the game: Kane had nine shot attempts.

What’s next: The series returns to St. Louis for Game 5 on Friday.

Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 2, Blues 0

April, 21, 2014
Apr 21
10:20
PM CT
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CHICAGO – Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 2-0 win over the St. Louis Blues in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Monday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks finally were able to secure a late lead against the Blues. Chicago had lost each of the first two games of the series by allowing the Blues a late third-period goal then giving up another in overtime. The Blackhawks took a 1-0 advantage when Jonathan Toews scored with a shot from the top of the left circle at 4 minutes, 10 seconds of the first period. Marcus Kruger scored an empty-net goal with 19.2 seconds left in the third. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped all 34 shots he faced. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller made 23 saves. The Blackhawks were 0-for-4 on the power play, and the Blues were 0-for-3. Toews won 19 of 24 faceoffs.

What it means: The Blackhawks won their first game of the series and cut the Blues’ lead to 2-1. The Blues won both of their games in St. Louis. Toews’ goal was his first of the playoffs. Blackhawks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank held his own while replacing Brent Seabrook, who served the first game of a three-game suspension for his hit on David Backes in Game 2. Both teams continued their penalty-kill success and power-play struggles. The Blackhawks are 1-for-14 on the power play in the series; the Blues are 1-for-16.

Player of the game: Crawford called himself out after Game 2 and said he needed to play better. He did that in Game 3. Monday marked his third career playoff shutout.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks blocked 24 shots. Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya each had a team-high four blocks.

What’s next: The series remains in Chicago for Game 4 on Wednesday.

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

April, 17, 2014
Apr 17
11:53
PM CT
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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.

Rapid Reaction: Predators 7, Blackhawks 5

April, 12, 2014
Apr 12
10:03
PM CT
By Jim Diamond
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Here’s a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks’ 7-5 loss to the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday.

How it happened: One night after being shutout in Washington, the Blackhawks got off to a fast start Saturday, striking first 4:11 into the game on a Ben Smith wrist shot. His goal was followed up by Marian Hossa’s 30th score of the season at 12:43 of the first. But Nashville’s Craig Smith answered just 14 seconds later. Ryan Ellis tied it for at 6:32 of the second, before Matt Carey’s first NHL goal put Chicago in front again. Nashville again tied it at 4:03 of the third off the stick of Matt Cullen, and then took their first lead of the game at 7:05 on Colin Wilson’s goal. That lead was short lived, as Jeremy Morin’s tough-angle bank shot off of Rinne 55 seconds later tied things again. Paul Gaustad put Nashville in front at 17:05, but Andrew Shaw drew Chicago even again at 18:25. Patric Hornqvist got the winner with 58.2 remaining. Shea Weber's empty-netter with 14 seconds remaining accounted for the final margin.

What it means: In the grand scheme of things, the game did not have any impact on Chicago’s spot in the Central Division’s standings. They already were locked into third heading into the playoffs, which will start later this week. The Blackhawks will have to wait until tomorrow to see who they will face in the first round. The Colorado Avalanche and St. Louis Blues are tied atop the Central with 111 points apiece. Each plays its final game of the regular season Sunday, and Chicago will face whichever team finishes second in the division. Should the teams end up tied in points, Colorado has the first tiebreaker, which is more regulation and overtime wins.

Player of the game: Brandon Saad had two assists, including a nifty drop pass to Smith on the game’s first goal. Saad had not recorded a point in his last three games played and was a healthy scratch Sunday against St. Louis.

Stat of the game: On a night when the Blackhawks struggled in the faceoff circle, Peter Regin won nine of his 13 draws.

What’s next: The start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Blackhawks do not know which team they will be facing in round one yet, but they do know that they will start on the road against either Colorado or St. Louis. Both teams’ arenas are booked for Wednesday night, so Thursday looks to be the night for the Blackhawks’ playoff opener.

Rapid Reaction: Capitals 4, Blackhawks 0

April, 11, 2014
Apr 11
8:58
PM CT
By Benjamin Standig
Special to ESPNChicago.com
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WASHINGTON -- Here's a quick look at the Chicago Blackhawks' 4-0 loss to the Washington Capitals at the Verizon Center on Friday.

How it happened: The Blackhawks fell behind 2:04 into the game. They fell further behind six minutes later. Their four-game winning streak would eventually fall as well. Things rarely got better on one of "those kinds of nights." Of course, the big-picture explanation cannot be ignored: Chicago played its first game since becoming locked into the third seed. Capitals winger Alex Ovechkin scored the opening goal -- his NHL-leading 51st of the season -- on the game's first power play. Jay Beagle scored twice, doubling his total for the season. Nicklas Backstrom's goal went in off Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford's back 79 seconds into the second period. Crawford made 16 saves during the first two periods before giving way to Antti Raanta for the third. Jaroslav Halak stopped 34 shots for the Capitals.

What it means: Beyond the lack of playoff chase motivation, the Blackhawks continued playing without injured forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. Duncan Keith and Peter Regin were among the scratches as coach Joel Quenneville rested some players for the upcoming postseason.

Player of the game: Raanta brushed aside all seven shots he faced in the third period.

Stat of the game: The Blackhawks played their first regular-season game in Washington since March 3, 2011.

What's next: The Blackhawks close the regular season Saturday in Nashville against the Predators. Chicago trails 3-1 in the season series.

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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