Chicago Blackhawks: Brent Seabrook
Brent Seabrook, Defenseman
2013-14 cap hit: $5,800,000| Age: 29 | Season stats: 7 goals, 34 assists, plus-23
Season recap: Seabrook went through some ups and downs like most of the Blackhawks' defensemen this season. He had some good months early, but his play didn't remain at that level and was inconsistent in the playoffs. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville broke up Seabrook and Duncan Keith as a defensive pairing in the Western Conference finals.
Season highlight: Seabrook played some of his better hockey early in the season. He had 21 points and was a plus-20 in November and December.
Season lowlight: Seabrook was suspended three games for a hit on St. Louis Blues forward David Backes during the first round.
Final grade: B.
Inside the numbers: Seabrook was on the ice for 15 goals for and 15 goals against in 5-on-5 situations in the playoffs, according to extraskater.com. He ranked fourth on the team in goals for and third in goals against.
Notes: Seabrook's 41 regular-season points were the second most of his career. He had 48 points during the 2010-11 season.
Quotes: "I think it was a good year, all in all," Seabrook said after the season. "I think it's obviously not where we want to be today. We think we had a chance to win again, and we were right there. So I don't think as far as changes go, I don't think we need many. I think the guys have that taste in their mouth, that they want to get back to where we were last year, and I'm assuming everyone's going to go home and have a good summer and get refreshed and refocused for another long year next year. That's our goal every year, is to be there at the end. It starts now."
What's next: Seabrook continues to be in the Blackhawks' long-term plans. He has three more years remaining on his contract. He and Keith are expected to be paired again next season.
Toffoli skated past Blackhawks defensemen Johnny Oduya and Niklas Hjalmarsson for a loose puck in Chicago's zone and scored to break a 2-2 tie in Game 3.
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith had the puck taken away from him by Kings forward Anze Kopitar, and defenseman Brent Seabrook was slow to get to the net to stop Marian Gaborik from scoring the second goal in Game 4.
While Chicago's penalty kill has been accountable for five goals in the past three games, that hasn’t been the Blackhawks’ only issue in their three consecutive losses, which have put them behind 3-1 in series. They also have had a few breakdowns they’re not accustomed to seeing from their defensemen.
“We’ve let in some uncharacteristic type of goals in this series that we probably haven’t seen all year or in the playoffs, for sure, that we think are preventable,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said on Tuesday. “We shore that up, and we’ll keep ourselves in the game and find a way.”
The Blackhawks allowed eight even-strength goals over the past three games. They had given up 21 even-strength goals over the first 13 playoff games. In the series, Oduya has been on the ice for six even-strength goals, Seabrook for four, Hjalmarsson for three, Rozsival for three, Leddy for two and Keith for one.
Not all of those goals were the defensemen's fault, but Seabrook said there’s definitely room for improvement on the back end.
“Absolutely, I think, like I said, I’ve got to be better,” Seabrook said Tuesday. “It doesn’t just start with the penalty kill. It’s in every facet of the game. I think we’ve all got to be out there doing things that are going to make us win a game, and I think some things happened last game that are uncharacteristic, but I’d say you’ve got to give L.A. credit. They’re forcing us into different situations, but we’ve got to be better and we will be better.”
Oduya and Hjalmarsson have had the best Corsi numbers (shot differential) among the defensemen despite starting in the defensive zone more than the others, according to extraskater.com. Oduya has a 57.0 Corsi percentage (the Blackhawks have 61 shots for and 46 against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations in the series). He’s followed by Hjalmarsson (55.3 percent), Rozsival (50.5), Seabrook (50.0), Leddy (48.5) and Keith (47.8). Leddy and Rozsival start the most in the offensive zone.
Quenneville thought what it came down to was his defensemen needing to play better around their own net.
“I think where pucks going through us or not recognizing the coverage that’s around the net,” Quenneville said. “They got some guys that they make some blind plays. Around the net, they got quick sticks, and they got some good shooters as well. I think we got to make sure we’re going to be defending around our net better than they are at their net. It could be the difference.”
CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Kings coach Darryl Sutter set a limit of two goals for the Chicago Blackhawks entering the Western Conference finals.
If the Kings could keep the Blackhawks under three scores in a given game, Sutter liked his team’s chances against the defending Stanley Cup champs. More than two, he didn’t like the Kings’ odds.
Sutter has been dead on so far. The Blackhawks scored three goals in Game 1 and won. The Blackhawks scored two goals in Game 2 and lost 6-2 Wednesday night.
“We probably played better [in Game 1],” Sutter said. “The only difference between tonight and [Sunday] was not goals for, it was goals against. Give up three against them, you're in trouble.”
The Blackhawks placed themselves in a comfortable position by going ahead 2-0, when Ben Smith scored 1:40 into the second period. But they didn’t back off. They kept pushing for another goal, and the Kings weren’t putting up much of a fight to stop them.
After their second goal, Blackhawks forward Marian Hossa nearly scored on a shot from the slot after receiving a stretch pass to get him open with 13:23 remaining in the second period.
Michal Handzus had a wraparound backhanded shot with 6:19 left that gave Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick a problem.
Off an odd-man rush shortly later, Hossa left the puck for Duncan Keith at the blue line, and Keith fired a shot that Quick blocked. But the Kings were fortunate the Blackhawks couldn’t capitalize on the rebound.
Of all the missed opportunities, the one that will bother the Blackhawks the most was a 2-on-1 rush. Kris Versteeg had the puck on the left wing, and Brent Seabrook was to his right. After Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell committed to Versteeg, he pushed the puck over to Seabrook, who fired it on net. Quick shifted quickly from left to right, filled the open space and denied the puck entry.
Quick kept the Kings in it, and they took advantage, as Justin Williams scored with less than two minutes remaining in the second period to cut the lead to one. From there, the game changed.
“That's what we need Quickie to do. He does it all the time, makes those big saves when we need him, and that's just a prime example of him being himself,” Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. “That's a huge save for us, and from that point we got pucks to the net, put one in, and came in here down only 2-1, which is what we wanted.”
The Kings scored five more goals, all in the third period, and the Blackhawks didn’t score again.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thought the Kings’ one goal in the second period may have been more deadly than the lack of a third Blackhawks goal.
Quenneville described his team’s first 38 minutes of the game as perfect.
“Couple real nice looks there,” Quenneville said. “[Seabrook] coming down the pipe and it’s still 2-0 and we’re fine at 2-0. You get in after two [periods] and you’re up 2-0, it’s a different game maybe, but certainly it didn’t look ... The way it turned on a dime like that, I don’t know if we’ve seen a game like that all year, where we’re doing everything right and then all of a sudden it was a disaster.”
The Blackhawks struggled to comprehend how a game they were dominating for nearly all of the first 40 minutes went against them. It's something they'll look to fix in Game 3 on Saturday.
“It’s pretty frustrating,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said. “We got off to a good start through 40 minutes. We were skating well and drew a few penalties, and then obviously things unraveled during the third.
“We’re not happy and we’re looking forward to getting on the plane and making up for it in Game 3.”
" The Blackhawks scored two power-play goals. It was just the third time they scored multiple power-play goals in a game since Jan. 1. They scored a total of three power-play goals in six games against the St. Louis Blues in the first round.
" The Blackhawks killed off all three of the Wild’s power plays. The Blackhawks have been perfect on the penalty kill in five of seven playoff games this season. They’re 30-of-32 on the penalty kill in the playoffs overall.
" The Blackhawks and Wild were nearly even in shots with the game tied or within a goal. The Wild had a slight advantage in those situations as they had a 51 Corsi close percentage (shot differential with the game tied or within a goal in 5-on-5 situations.) The Wild had 25 shots, and the Blackhawks had 24. Corsi close is used to eliminate score effects.
" Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane and Bryan Bickell each scored two goals. They have combined for 27 goals in 30 playoff games the past two seasons.
" Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 30-of-32 shots for a .938 save percentage. Since allowing four goals on 31 shots to the St. Louis Blues in Game 2 of their first-round series, he has made 156 saves on 164 shots for a .951 save percentage in the last five games. The Blackhawks have won all five of those games.
" Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov allowed four goals on 21 shots. He has stopped 55-of-67 shots for a .821 save percentage in the playoffs.
" The Wild had 12 players who had a Corsi percentage (shot differential) of better than 50 percent. The Blackhawks had six. Jonas Brodin led the Wild with a 73.7 Corsi percentage (the Wild had 14 shots for and five against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations).
" The Blackhawks’ fourth line had the team’s lowest Corsi percentage. Forwards Brandon Bollig, Michal Handzus and Joakim Nordstrom had an average 22.6 Corsi percentages (the Blackhawks had 4.3 shots for and 14.7 against with them on the ice).
" Bollig averaged nearly a hit a minute. He had seven hits and played 8:00 of ice time.
" Wild forward Zach Parise had a game-high six shots on goal. Kane led the Blackhawks with five shots on goal.
" Kane had a plus-2 rating. He leads the NHL with a plus-8 rating in the playoffs.
" Brent Seabrook picked up two more assists. He is tied for a team-leading eight points despite having missed three playoff games due to suspension.
" Wild defenseman Ryan Suter had a game-high 25:22 of ice time. Duncan Keith led the Blackhawks with 24:12 of ice time.
" Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews won 16 of 24 faceoffs. He’s won 99 of 160 faceoffs for a 61.9 percentage in the playoffs.
Game 6 marked the first time in the series the teams weren't within a goal of each other in the last two minutes of regulation. Four of the five games went to overtime, and the other was only a two-goal game because of a late empty-net goal.
The Blues were 0-for-6 on the power play. They finished the series 2-for-29. They had 52:37 of power-play time. The Blackhawks had a 93.1 penalty-kill percentage.
The Blackhawks were called for five minor penalties and finished the series with 29 minors, one major, one misconduct and one game misconduct.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews scored the game-winning goal when he broke a 1-1 tie early in the third period. He had three-game winning goals in the series and tied Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith for a series-high seven points.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 35-of-36 shots. He made 201 saves on 215 shots for a .935 save percentage in the series. He allowed six goals over the final four games.
Toews won 16-of-29 faceoffs and 91-of-160 for a 61.9 percentage in the series.
The Blackhawks scored the game's first goal. The team which scored the first game won every game in the series.
The Blues had 66 total shot attempts, including 36 on net, to the Blackhawks' 45 total shots, including 27 on net. The Blues had 215 shots on net to the Blackhawks' 186 in the series.
Blues goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 22-of-27 shots. He made 166 saves on 185 shots for a .897 save percentage in the series.
The Blackhawks won 35-of-69 faceoffs and finished with 237 wins to the Blues' 208 in the series.
Blues forward Patrik Berglund had a minus-3 rating. He had a series-worst minus-7 rating.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane had a plus-1 rating and finished with a series-best plus-6 rating.
The Blackhawks were 1-for-2 on the power play and 3-for-20 in the series.
Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell had a team-high four hits and leads the NHL with 35.
The Blues had 12 players with a Corsi percentage (shot differential) of better than 50 percent, according to extraskater.com. The Blackhawks had eight players.
The Blackhawks and Blues were nearly even in shot attempts with the game tied or within a goal during the series. The Blackhawks had 235 shot attempts to the Blues' 234, according to extraskater.com.
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo played a game-high 26:26 of ice time. Keith played a team-high 25:16. Pietrangelo leads the NHL with 181:29 of playoff ice time. Keith is second with 179:09.
Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson played 5:31 of shorthanded ice time, and Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus played 6:39. Hjalmarsson leads the league with 31:40 of shorthanded ice time in the playoffs. Handzus is second with 30:26.
The Blues outhit the Blackhawks 43-22. The Blues had 248 hits to the Blackhawks' 143 for the series.
Hjalmarsson had two blocked shots. He leads the NHL with 26 blocked shots in the playoffs.
Seabrook needed the Blackhawks to win twice in three games against the St. Louis Blues to give him a chance to play again this season. The Blackhawks did better than that. They won three times.
Brent Seabrook needed Chicago to win twice in three games against the Blues to give him a chance to play again this season after his Game 2 suspension. They did him one better by winning three times.
“It was tough,” Seabrook said of serving his suspension. “I can’t watch hockey. I don’t know how you guys do it. It’s tough. You’re hanging on every shot, every save, every play. You want to be out there helping the guys.
“It was obviously tough to watch it, but they did a great job and I got to play again.”
Seabrook was suspended three games for a shoulder-to-head hit on Blues forward David Backes in Game 2. Backes missed two games due to an upper-body injury. Seabrook expressed concern for Backes and apologized for the hit after Game 2.
Seabrook spoke to the media for the first time since receiving the suspension after Game 6 on Sunday.
“I didn’t like it, obviously, but I respect their decision,” Seabrook said of the suspension. “They have a tough job. They’re not just worried about myself or just worried about Backes; they’re looking at the whole thing. Really, the only thing you can ask for is they are honest and respectful.
“[Brendan Shanahan] did a good job the last three, four, five years, however long he was [with the NHL’s Department of Player Safety]. [Stephane] Quintal has taken over and the couple of suspensions he’s handed out I think he’s been doing a good job. It’s a tough job for those guys to do that. You know one side is always going to be pissed off. I just have to take it and had to try and get ready.”
Seabrook and Backes faced each other in Sunday’s game, but Seabrook said they didn't discuss the hit. Seabrook said he hoped to talk to Backes in the next few days. The players shook hands after the game.
“We haven’t talked,” Seabrook said. “I can’t say for what he thinks about me, but I’m not a player like that. I’ve been here for nine years and you guys have seen the way I play. It was not my intention. It wasn’t deliberate.
“He’s one of their best players. You want to play him tough. You want to play him hard, but you don’t want to go out there and hurt anybody. Like I said after that game, it’s tough to see anybody laying there, whether it’s your worst enemy or your best friend it’s tough to see that.”
" Blues forward David Backes is unlikely to play again due to an upper-body injury. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock didn’t rule him out, but Backes didn’t participate in the morning skate again. Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook will be serving the final game of his three-game suspension for his hit on Backes.
" Game 5 has a good shot of going into overtime. Three of the first four games have gone past regulation and were decided by a 4-3 score.
" The Blues have defeated the Blackhawks in all four games at the Scottrade Center this season. The Blues won 4-3 in three overtimes in Game 1 and 4-3 in one overtime in Game 2 in St. Louis. Neither team has lost at home in the series.
" Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is coming off his best game of the series. He had two goals, including the game-winner, and an assist in the Blackhawks’ win in Game 4. He appears to have his timing back after missing the final 12 regular-season games due to a lower-body injury.
" Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko leads the NHL with four playoff goals. He had two of them in Game 4. He missed the final 15 games of the regular season.
" Both teams have been consistently effective on the penalty kill and ineffective on the power play. The Blackhawks are 2-for-16 on the power play, and the Blues are 2-for-21.
" Blackhawks forwards Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa haven’t scored in the series. They combined for 64 goals in the regular season. They have had 39 shots on net in the series.
Blues forward David Backes is questionable for the game. After the morning skate, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock wouldn't reveal whether Backes will play. Backes was hurt by a hit from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in Game 2. Seabrook will be out Wednesday as he serves the second game of his three-game suspension.
Hitchcock announced forward Brenden Morrow will miss the remainder of the series due to a lower-body injury. Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith did not participate in the team's morning skate, but coach Joel Quenneville said he will be fine for the game.
The Blues believe they played their best game of the series in Game 3 despite losing 2-0 at the United Center. The Blues had 70 total shot attempts to the Blackhawks' 49. Hitchcock said, "I thought we were 80 percent in, and if we're going to beat them [Wednesday,] we're going to have to have a stronger commitment in our game."
A power-play goal could be the difference for either team. Both teams have struggled on the power play and excelled on the penalty kill. The Blues are 1-for-16 on the power play, and the Blackhawks are 1-for-14. The Blackhawks' power-play goal came on their first chance in the series. The Blues scored theirs to tie the game in the final seconds of the third period in Game 2. Both teams have obviously been pleased with their penalty kill units.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford is coming off his best game of the series. After allowing four goals in each of the first two games, Crawford stopped all 34 shots he faced in Game 3. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller wasn't far behind Crawford in Game 3. Aside from allowing a soft goal to Jonathan Toews, Miller was solid as well.
Quenneville reunited forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on a line in Game 3. Quenneville often prefers to keep them apart to create more balance in the lineup. Kane and Toews have two of the Blackhawks' three forward goals in the series. Hitchcock joked on Tuesday, "I don't think he's fighting very fair frankly. I don't like that. But we'll find a way to figure it out."
Game 3 was tamer than the first two games. The Blackhawks and Blues combined for seven penalties, which was the lowest amount in the series. They combined for 10 in Game 1 and 17 in Game 2. Both teams are less likely to get involved in extracurriculars after the whistle as the series goes on.
Brookbank experienced that last season when he filled in for Duncan Keith, who was suspended a game in the Western Conference finals. A season later, Brookbank finds himself in a similar position after Brent Seabrook was suspended three games for an illegal hit in Game 2 of the Blackhawks' first-round series with the Blues. Brookbank will play in Game 3 of the series on Monday after being a healthy scratch the first two games.
"This is where you want to be. You want to play in the playoffs. That's what we all play for. I'm just going to make the most of it."
Brookbank is known for his physical style of play, and he hopes that will be a positive for the Blackhawks against a physical Blues team.
"Better believe [it's my type of series]," Brookbank said. "It's going to be tough. Have to try and keep yourself in check and not get too caught up in all the stuff. So far, it's had a lot of bite to it, and I don't expect that to change at all."
Brookbank often was rotated in and out of the lineup with a few other defensemen during the regular season. He had two goals, five assists and a plus-two rating in 48 games this season.
Brookbank had his role increased late in the regular season when Johnny Oduya missed time due to an injury and when the Blackhawks locked up their playoff position. Brookbank played 16 minutes or more in five of the last six regular season games.
Quenneville is confident Brookbank will be able to step in and contribute against the Blues.
"He's a steady guy, simple direct," Quenneville said. "Hard to play against, and he gives us that presence back there as well."
Being inserted into the lineup this time around should be easier for Brookbank than in last season's playoffs. He hadn't played in a game in nearly six weeks when he was asked to replace Keith last season. He last played on April 12 this season.
"It was closer to two months last year, but this is maybe just over a week," Brookbank said. "So hopefully I won't be as rusty and still have the rhythm going from the regular season."
* The Blues had 17:48 of power-play ice time in the win. They scored once on nine power-play opportunities. They are 1-for-13 on the power play for a 7.7 percentage in the series.
* The Blackhawks were 0-for-4 on the power play. They are 1-for-10 for a 10.0 percentage in the series. They scored on their first power-play attempt of the series.
* The Blackhawks accumulated a season-high 41 penalty minutes. The Blues had 20.
* Blackhawks forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were each held to one shot attempt. Kane has one goal and seven shots on net in the two games, and Toews has two assists and five shots on goal.
* Blackhawks forward Brandon Bollig played a team-low 3:23 of ice time. He played three shifts and a total of 1:23 of ice time after the first period. He compiled 12 penalty minutes, including a 10-minute misconduct and a two-minute minor for roughing. Ryan Reaves played a team-low 3:49 for the Blues.
* Blackhawks defensemen accounted for all three goals in the loss. Their defensemen have scored five of their six goals in the two games. Brent Seabrook has two goals, and Michal Rozsival, Duncan Keith and Johnny Oduya each have one goal.
The Blackhawks found out they'll be without defenseman Brent Seabrook for the next three games after he was suspended by the league for his hit on the Blues’ David Backes in Game 2 on Saturday. Chicago will now have to win at least twice without Seabrook in the lineup to keep its season alive.
Seabrook was second on the team with 22:16 of average ice time during the regular season. He also had seven goals, 34 assists and a plus-23 rating in 82 regular-season games. He leads the team with four points, which includes two goals and two assists, against the Blues in the playoffs.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville spoke to the media Sunday before Seabrook's suspension was revealed. Quenneville wasn't sure what would happen to Seabrook, but he knew Seabrook was important to the team.
"You need his size," Quenneville said. "You need his presence, experience and leadership. He's got the big shot on the point, and he's on our power play as well, kills penalties. So he plays all important minutes, and him and [Duncan Keith] make a real good pair for us. He's been a great pro for us."
Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival was hopeful they wouldn't be without Seabrook, but he thought the team had to be prepared either way.
"He's definitely the guy that the coaches and everybody is counting on in the big, important situations," Rozsival said. "He's a big part of the club, but whatever is going to happen is going to happen. You can't control it right now. You just have to deal with it. At the end of the day, we have to win the hockey game."
ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks left St. Louis with a serious case of the blues.
Twice in three days, the Blackhawks were on the verge late in the third period of defeating the St. Louis Blues by a goal and taking home-ice advantage away from them in the Western Conference first-round playoff series, and twice, the Blues delivered a punch to the Blackhawks’ gut by scoring a game-tying goal late in the third period and prevailing in overtime.
The Blackhawks were first devastated by the Blues in Game 1 when St. Louis erased a 3-2 lead with 1:46 remaining in the third period and then won the game in triple overtime on Thursday.
The Blackhawks were even closer to victory on Saturday. After fending off a 5-on-3 power play for 46 seconds and a 5-on-4 power play for 3:59 -- which also included the Blues removing their goalie and adding another attacker -- in the final five minutes of the third period, Chicago's 3-2 lead was decimated when the Blues’ Vladimir Tarasenko scored with 6.4 seconds remaining in the period. The Blues finished the job with a goal by Barret Jackman 5:50 into a first overtime.
The Blackhawks dealt with so much penalty-killing time because Bryan Bickell was called for kneeing at 13:55 and Brent Seabrook received five minutes for charging and a game misconduct at 15:09. Chicago killed off 17:47 of a possible 17:48 of the Blues’ power plays in the game.
"We did a great job killing," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "It was an outstanding job, and you’re right there, six seconds away. The other game was tough losing at a buck and change, but tonight was brutal."
ST. LOUIS -- Here’s a quick look at the St. Louis Blues' 4-3 overtime win over the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference first-round series at the Scottrade Center on Saturday.
How it happened: Barret Jackman scored 5:50 into overtime for the game-winner. Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko forced overtime by scoring a power-play goal from the top of the right circle with 6.4 seconds remaining in the third period. St. Louis had pulled goaltender Ryan Miller off the ice and had a 6-on-4 advantage. The Blues were on the power play from 13:55 of the third period to when Tarasenko scored at 19:53. Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell was called for kneeing at 13:55, and defenseman Brent Seabrook got five minutes for charging and received a game misconduct for a hit he put on David Backes at 15:09. Backes left the game and did not return.
The Blackhawks took a 3-2 lead when Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival's shot deflected off Backes and skidded past Miller at 6:38 of the third period. The Blues had built a 2-0 lead in the first period off goals by Chris Porter and Kevin Shattenkirk. But the Blackhawks started to rally in the second period. Defenseman Duncan Keith scored at 17:25 of the second for their first goal. Seabrook came through with the second goal as he scored from the right circle at 4:53 of the third period.
Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford made 27 saves on 31 shots. Blues goaltender Ryan Miller stopped 25-of-28 shots.
What it means: The Blues take a 2-0 series lead and hold onto home-ice advantage. Backes’ health has to be a concern for the Blues going forward. He looked out of sorts after the hit. Seabrook could be looking at a suspension. The Blues have rallied from 3-2 deficits in the third period and won in overtime in both games of the series. They scored with 1:46 remaining in the third period in Game 1 to force overtime and then won it in a third overtime Thursday.
The Blues have been giving the Blackhawks power-play chances, but the Blackhawks haven’t been able to capitalize. They are 1-for-10 on the power play in the series. The Blackhawks went 119:26 without scoring a goal from Patrick Kane's first-period goal in Game 1 to Keith’s second-period goal in Game 2.
Player of the game: Tarasenko provided the clutch goal in the win.
Stat of the game: The Blues had 17:48 of power-play time.
What’s next: The series travels to Chicago for Games 3 and 4. Game 3 will be at the United Center on Monday.
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.
PITTSBURGH -- The Chicago Blackhawks dropped a 4-1 decision to the Pittsburgh Penguins, losing their third game in a row.
How it happened: Pittsburgh scored two goals in the span of 21 seconds in the first period and never looked back. Brent Seabrook was knocked down at the Penguins blue line, causing an odd-man situation, on which James Neal eventually finished. That was quickly followed by Lee Stempniak’s ability to get behind the defense for another score. The Hawks finally got on the board midway through the second period after some nice passing in the offensive zone. Sheldon Brookbank scored from the point with Andrew Shaw providing a screen. But two Sidney Crosby goals, including an empty-netter in the third period, ended what was a close game to that point.
Toews hurt: Jonathan Toews left the game in the second period after getting hit by defenseman Brooks Orpik. Toews was seen holding his left arm and immediately went to the locker room. But after the game Joel Quenneville said he thought the injury wasn’t serious. There was no call made on the play, which could be interpreted as a high hit.
What it means: It all depends on how long Toews is out. The Hawks already are struggling to score goals and morale would undoubtedly sink even lower if the team’s captain was out of the lineup for an extended period of time. They already are missing Patrick Kane. The Hawks have clinched a playoff berth, so getting healthy might be the most important goal with such a short time remaining in the regular season. They get a break by not playing until Thursday; it gives Toews a chance to be re-evaluated without the pressure of trying to play in a game right away.
What’s next: The Hawks are off until Thursday, when they take on the Minnesota Wild at home still looking to reach 100 points. They’re stuck on 99.
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