A controversial goal that was taken away and another that was allowed to stand helped the Chicago Blackhawks even their first-round playoff series with the St. Louis Blues at 1-1 following a wild Friday night at Scottrade Center.
Andrew Shaw’s controversial goal with 4:19 remaining withstood both a video review and a coach’s challenge as to whether there was goaltender interference and the Blackhawks tacked on an empty-net goal by rookie Artemi Panarin that proved to be the game-winner in a 3-2 victory.
Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk scored with 1.1 seconds remaining, but the defending Stanley Cup champions Blackhawks held on. Game 3 is set for 2 p.m. Sunday in Chicago.
An apparent go-ahead goal by Vladimir Tarasenko was waved off on a coach’s challenge when it was determined that Blues center Jori Lehtera was offside on the play before the goal occurred.
If Blues fans felt coach Ken Hitchcock was going to rip into the officiating, it didn’t happen.
“They are what they are we’re going to have to fight,” he said of the calls on Shaw’s goal and the one by Tarasenko. “When you play the defending (Stanley) Cup champion you’re going to have to fight through a lot of stuff. That’s the way it is.
“Calls aren’t going to go your way, you’re not going to get the officiating you want, it’s always going to seem like it’s one-sided. Big deal. Fight through it. If we expect to beat Chicago this series we’re going to have to fight through more than just Chicago. They’re a hell of a hockey club.”
Tarasenko thought he had scored his second goal of the night after Blues rookie defenseman Colton Parayko forced a turnover and headed the other way. Lehtera got the puck behind the net and found Tarasenko in front with 7:46 remaining in regulation.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville used his coach’s challenge to ask for a review to see if Lehtera was offside earlier in the play. During the video review, Blues fans sang along to the Beatles classic “Let It Be,” but the goal was overturned when the play was ruled to be offside.
“Someone on the bench it’s offside and we got it late, I was screaming like a crazy man,” Quenneville said. “(We) just got it in time. they give you sometimes the benefit of the doubt. I don’t know what the timeline is, this year it’s kind of new. I don’t’ know if there’s a real time limit but I think they give you time to take a couple of looks at it.”
Blues fans didn’t see it that way and voiced their displeasure with the call. Along with the controversy, the long delay for the video review and subsequent challenge seemed to sap momentum the Blues had built up during a strong start to the third.
Did Blues captain David Backes feel the review took too long?
“It was a five- or six-minute review,” Backes said. “I don’t know. It felt like forever. For it to be overturned you figure it was pretty obvious. It was one of those things where it was a critical time in the game and I don’t know if it has a ton of impact on the play that scores the goal, but that’s just the way it is.
“We are not going to get all the calls and sometimes you are going to get calls you don’t like, but we have to continue to play and not let that be a lull.”
Not long after the Blues lost their goal following a coach’s challenge, the Blackhawks took the lead with 4:19 remaining on a controversial power-play goal by Shaw.
Shaw was in tight with Blues goaltender Brian Elliott and seemed to make contact with the goaltender on the play. The play was reviewed and ruled to be a good goal before being challenged by Hitchcock.
Following a second review after the challenge, Shaw’s goal was allowed to stand as Blues fans were livid with anger after sitting though another lengthy review.
The official ruling from the league office said:
“After reviewing all available replays and consulting with NHL Hockey Operations staff, the Referee confirmed no goaltender interference infractions occurred before the puck crossed the goal line.”
Did that mean Shaw interfered with Elliott after he scored?
Elliott didn’t seem sure about what had happened, but quickly spoke to the on-ice official right after the goal.
“We’ve got to put ourselves in a position where those calls don’t make or break the game,” he said. “I don’t know what the rules are any more, every play is so different. It’s up to the refs on the ice to make the call, it’s not one person kind of calling everything. I don’t know what the call is.”
Asked about the official ruling about Shaw’s contact coming after the puck crossed the line, Elliott said, “I didn’t hear that either, so I can’t really comment on it.”
Backes was asked what he thought about the offside call on Lehtera, with most of the controversy centering around where Lehtera’s back skate was in regards to the blue line.
“I watched it a couple times and the puck kind of disappears behind Jori and there’s a skate in the air or it’s on the ice or where’s the puck and all those things,” he said. “I’m obviously a biased individual in what I think happened, but the unbiased guy said — and they had plenty of time to look at it — but we’ve got to take it up another notch and continue to execute and continue to play.
“They found a way to get on the power play and found a way to get an ugly one.”
After four straight periods of regulation hockey without a goal, the Blues finally broke through late in the second period.
Lehtera forced Chicago’s Michal Roszival into a turnover in his own end and Jaden Schwartz quickly grabbed the puck. He sent it to Tarasenko, who snapped a quick shot past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford with 4:40 remaining in the period.
It was Tarasenko’s 11th goal in 15 career playoff games an seventh in his last eight postseason contests.
A wild second period featured plenty of big hits, a shot off the crossbar by Chicago rookie Artemi Panarin and big saves by both Elliott and Crawford.
The Blues seemed poise to carry a 1-0 lead into the dressing room after the second period, but Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith ruined those plans.
Following an icing call against the Blues, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews won the faceoff and Patrick Kane quickly moved the puck back to the right point to Keith. Keith’s long shot snaked its way through traffic in front and found its way into the net with just 4.4 seconds remaining in the period.
It was Chicago’s first goal of the series and couldn’t have come at a more opportune time.
The Blackhawks welcomed Keith back to the lineup after he sat out the final game of a six-game suspension in Game 1.
Keith’s impressive credentials include three Stanley Cup championships, two Norris Trophies, two gold medals with Team Canada and the Conn Smythe Trophy last spring as playoff Most Valuable Player.