Similarities are eerie for Blues in their first-round series

News-DemocratApril 26, 2014 

— The similarities between the Blues' 2013 playoff series against the Los Angeles Kings and this one against the Chicago Blackhawks are starting to become a bit more than eerie coincidence.

The Blues won the first two games at home in both series, only to lose the next three.

Check out these other similarities that were first posted by CSN Chicago after Friday night's game:

2013 vs. Kings (Blues lose series 4-2)

Game 1: Alexander Steen scores the game-winner in overtime.

Game 2: Barret Jackman scores the game-winner.

Game 3: Blues lose in a shutout

Game 4: Blues lose 4-3 after failing to protect a 3-2 lead

Game 5: Blues lose 3-2 in overtime after Alex Pietrangelo tied the game to force OT. Goal was set up by Jaden Schwartz.

Game 6: Blues lose on a late goal by Kings' Dustin Penner

2014 vs. Blackhawks (Blues trailing series 3-2)

Game 1: Alexander Steen scores the game-winner in the third overtime.

Game 2: Barret Jackman scored game-winner

Game 3: Blues lose in a shutout

Game 4: Blues lose 4-3 after failing to protect a 3-2 lead

Game 5: Blues lose 3-2 in overtime after Alex Pietrangelo tied the game to force OT. Goal was set up by Jaden Schwartz.

"I think last year we had a really good chance," Blues forward T.J. Oshie said. "Last year, their goaltender outworked us a little bit whereas now, I think we're getting some chances and there's been some open nets and we've missed the net."

It sounds like Oshie is not buying into the strange, but true parallel universe between 2013 and 2014.

"It's a different year, it's different personnel, there's a different experience, a different opponent," Oshie said. "I guess all that's different, but as far as our play goes, we get a little too ramped up at times and it seems like teams take advantage of that."

Lucky charm

Pardon the Blackhawks if they wind up placing Andrew Shaw's shin pads in some sort of shrine.

Last season, a puck deflected in off Shaw's pad to win Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins in triple overtime.

Flash forward to Friday night in St. Louis, when Shaw's equipment helped determine the outcome of another winner for the Hawks.

A clearing attempt by Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith deflected off Shaw's pad and bounced right to Jonathan Toews near center ice.

Toews, late on a line change, was still in the right place at the right time. He took off on a breakaway and beat Blues goalie Ryan Miller to win the game and give Chicago a 3-2 lead in the series.

"Duncan fired it down, it hit my leg and went to Johnny (Toews) ... I guess the shin-pad luck is back," Shaw told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday. "It has done a lot for me in my career so I owe it a lot."

Blues winger Steve Ott said plays like that have been the difference in a wild and crazy series.

"They obviously were cheating the change and they got rewarded for it," Ott sad. "It's one of those lucky breaks and obviously it went onto a great player's stick and he found a way to put it home. That's the adversity that you face in tough series."

Backes update

While David Backes wasn't available to the media Saturday, teammate T.J. Oshie liked what he saw from his linemate on Friday.

Returning after sitting out two games following a blow to the head by Chicago's Brent Seabrook, Backes returned to the series for Game 5 and showed flashes of strong play. Backes played 21 minutes, 35 seconds, led the team with eight hits but also had a plus-minus rating of minus-2.

"I thought he was pretty good," Oshie said. "He made a lot of good plays, a lot of good plays defensively. I think he did a great job. A couple of those shots get through, he might have a goal or set up one for a rebound. Big gamer, we're expecting more out of him tomorrow."

Hitchcock also felt Backes, who missed time with a foot injury even before the upper-body injury, did as well or better than expected.

"For not skating, for not playing, I thought he did fine," Hitchcock said. "He hit the wall a few times so we had to put other people on the ice, but for coming back into --how long's he not skated for, two weeks? --to walk in and play those minutes was impressive."

Contact reporter Norm Sanders at 239-2454, or follow him on Twitter: @NormSanders

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