Patrick Kane grabbed his own rebound after skating around the net and scored 3 minutes, 7 seconds into the second overtime period early Friday morning as the Chicago Blackhawks fought off elimination with a 4-3 victory over the St. Louis Blues.
Kane got the initial shot off as well after taking a pass from Richard Panik, then flew around the net to chase down the loose puck before whacking it into the net for his first goal of the series. It was his fifth career overtime game-winning goal, tied for third all-time in NHL history.
“I tried to make a move around a guy who was maybe trying to block my shot,” Kane said. “Made a move, saw the puck and tried to get one on net there. Fortunately enough it kind of squeaked out to the other side.”
The Blues, who forced overtime with third-period goals by Robby Fabbri and David Backes, will take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven playoff series into Game 6 at 7 p.m. Saturday in Chicago.
“I still thought we deserved to win the game,” said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who led the team with 39 minutes, 29 seconds and helped his etam erase Chicago’s two-goal lead in the third period. “The puck ends up right back on (Kane’s) stick somehow, and he finds an open net. I thought we … played one of our better games tonight.”
On Kane’s goal, Blues goaltender Brian Elliott got his stick caught in the skate of defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. That may have hindered him briefly from getting back across to the other side of the net.
The Blues said their mentality won’t change as they try to close out the defending Stanley Cup champions, this time in their own building instead of in St. Louis.
“It’s going to be a tough place to win,” Pietrangelo said. “We won the last two there though. So, go back for more of the same. Still up 3-2. It’s going to be fun to win it in Chicago. That’s the game plan right now. Their backs are still up against the wall.”
The Blues outshot the Blackhawks 46-35, with Chicago goaltender Corey Crawford helping keep his team’s playoff chances alive with 43 saves. Since 2010, the Blackhawks are 12-3 when facing elimination.
What was the message Blues coach Ken Hitchcock had for his team after a tough double-OT loss after that ended at 12:55 a.m.?
“The plane’s at 3,” he said. “Let’s get playing. We knew this was going to be difficult. We knew this was going to be hard and we knew it was going to be a huge challenge. We’ve just got to find another way to make them crack some more.”
The Blues had most of the top scoring chances in the first overtime, the best coming when Alexander Steen was turned away from point-blank range by Crawford. Chicago didn’t get its first shot in OT until 7:58 had elapsed.
Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith led all players with 42 minutes of ice time, including a shift that dragged on for 2 minutes, 37 seconds in the first OT.
“Obviously it feels good,” Keith said of the win. “I don’t know if that’s the way we drew it up. It would have been nice to just hang on to that lead. Kaner came through and I thought they probably carried a lot of the play there in the first overtime. It just matters that we got the goal.
Fabbri brought the sellout crowd of 19,956 to its feet 6 minutes, 57 seconds into third period when he cut the ‘Hawks lead to 3-2 with his first career playoff goal.
Fabbri took a long pass from Alex Pietrangelo, then made a quick, darting cut from the left side into the slot before unleashing a hard shot that eluded Crawford.
Fabbri set up the tying goal as well, getting it back to Pietrangelo near the blue line while falling down in the corner. Pietrangelo sent the puck in front and Backes guided it past Crawford to tie it 3-3 with 5:10 remaining as the teams battled into overtime for the second time in five games.
After a scoreless first period, the teams erupted for four goals in the second and three of them were scored by the Blackhawks.
Marian Hossa’s short-handed goal at 11:32 of the second period put Chicago on top as he beat Blues goalie Brian Elliott with a high wrist shot to the glove side.
The lead didn’t last long as the Blues tied it 57 seconds later on Jaden Schwartz’s third power-play goal in the last three games. Schwartz unleashed a low slap shot from the left side that snaked its way past Crawford.
Some rough defensive coverage by the Blues led to Chicago’s next goal.
The Blues allowed dangerous winger Artemi Panarin to skate out from behind the net uncontested. His shot went off of Elliott and Artem Anisimov was there to clean up the loose puck for a rebound goal with 4:36 remaining in the second period.
Following a Blues turnover, Elliott robbed Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews after Toews broke in alone with 7.3 seconds remaining. The Blues tried to get to the dressing room down by only a goal, but the Blackhawks tacked on another one as a shot by Panarin beat Elliott just ahead of the horn to the end the period.
It was Panarin’s second goal of the series and it looked even bigger when Fabbri and Backes scored for the Blues in the third period.
The last time the Blues knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs was in 2002, also in five games. One of the highlights of the series was three straight shutouts by then-Blues goaltender Brent Johnson.
The Blues have lost in the first round of the playoffs in each of the previous three seasons.
Before Thursday, in all five times the Blues led a playoff series 3-1 and returned home, they won Game 5 and the series. Conversely, the Blackhawks were 14-4 in Game 5’s since 2009, including 5-3 on road.
One of the best early scoring chances for the Blues came when Patrik Berglund unleashed a shot that knocked the mask off of Crawford.
The Blackhawks were trying to find a way to slow down Blues star forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who began the night with 13 goals in 17 career playoff games. Tarasenko’s average of 0.76 goals per game in playoffs is the best rate in NHL history among players with at least 15 games.
Nine of the last 11 playoff games between Blues and Blackhawks have been decided by one goal. Six of the 11 games were not decided until overtime.
One Game 5 lineup change for the Blues was the return of defenseman Carl Gunnarsson from an upper-body injury that kept him out of Game 4. Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo stayed in the lineup for a second straight game, sending rookie defenseman Joel Edmundson to the press box after Edmundson had played in the first four games.
The Blackhawks loaded up their top line and top defense pairing, using star forwards Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews on the top line. The top defense pairing were veteran stars Keith and Brent Seabrook.
Kane and Toews had been held without a goal through the first four games of the series. Both assisted on Panarin’s goal at the end of the second period.