W2W4: Blues vs. Blackhawks (Game 6)
April, 27, 2014
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues face off for Game 6 of their Western Conference first-round series at the United Center on Sunday. The Blackhawks lead the series 3-2. Here's what to watch for:
The Blackhawks haven’t let many chances to close out a series slip by them under coach Joel Quenneville. They’re 10-2 in games they’re able to close out a best-of-seven series in the past six seasons.
The Blues have been in a similar situation before. Just last season, the Blues took a 2-0 lead on the Los Angeles Kings, and the Blues lost the next four games of the series.
Four of the first five games of the series went to overtime. The NHL record for the most games in a playoff series to go into overtime is five. The record has been met twice. A first-round series between the Blackhawks and the Phoenix Coyotes in 2012 was the last to do so.
Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook returns after serving a three-game suspension for an illegal hit to Blues forward David Backes in Game 2. Backes returned in Game 5 after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury.
Power-play goals have been extremely difficult to come by for both teams. The Blues are 2-for-23 on the power play in the series, and the Blackhawks are 2-for-18.
The teams' contrasting styles can especially be seen in their amount of hits in the series. The Blues have 205 hits in the five games, and the Blackhawks have 121. The Blues had 54 hits to the Blackhawks’ 17 in Game 5.
Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews has two game-winning goals in the series. He put away a breakaway in overtime to win Game 5. He leads the Blackhawks with six points in the series.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford has stopped 127 of 138 shots for a .920 save percentage with the teams at even strength. He has made 32 saves on 34 shots for a .941 save percentage against the power play.
Blues goaltender Ryan Miller has stopped 126 of 138 shots for a .912 save percentage with the teams at even strength. He has made 18 saves on 20 shots for a .900 save percentage against the power play.
The first goal of the game could be significant. The team which has scored the first goal has ended up winning the first five games of the series.