National Hockey League
Blues-Blackhawks Preview
National Hockey League

Blues-Blackhawks Preview

Updated Mar. 5, 2020 12:25 a.m. ET

Providing bulletin board material for the defending Stanley Cup champions who just staved off elimination doesn't seem wise. Whether it's confidence or arrogance, though, Alex Pietrangelo doesn't mind having to head back to the United Center for Game 6 on Saturday night.

"It's going to be fun to win it in Chicago," the St. Louis defenseman boasted.

It's true that the Blues won Games 3 and 4 in the Windy City to put the Blackhawks in a 3-1 hole, having set up a chance to close out this first-round series Thursday at home and advance to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since 2012. But that's also the last time Chicago was sent home in the opening round.

The following year, the Blackhawks came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Detroit in their first series before winning their second of three Cups in the last six seasons. The year after that, they lost Games 1 and 2 to St. Louis in the first round before rallying to win four straight, then forced Game 7 against Los Angeles in the conference finals after falling behind 3-1 and lost in overtime.


All of that makes it seem Pietrangelo's comment is ill-timed after Patrick Kane kept Chicago alive with a put-back goal 3:07 into the second overtime of Game 5 for a 4-3 victory. The Art Ross Trophy winner's fifth career postseason overtime goal tied him for third on the all-time list and helped the Blackhawks recover from losing a two-goal lead in the third period.

It also marked Kane's first goal of the series. Captain Jonathan Toews has yet to score, though both of them assisted on Artemi Panarin's goal with 0.4 seconds left in the second that gave Chicago a 3-1 advantage. Marian Hossa and Artem Anisimov scored earlier in the period.

''Tough to give up another lead like that, but we didn't crack,'' said Corey Crawford, who made 12 of his 43 saves in the OT periods. ''We stuck with our game, and we're excited to go back home now.''

One might wonder why. St. Louis scored the deciding goal there in Game 3 after Kane's four-minute high sticking penalty in the third, then held on to win Game 4 when Andrew Shaw's late interference penalty thwarted any hopes for a Blackhawks comeback.

Chicago won without Shaw in Game 5 after he was suspended for directing a homophobic slur at someone on the ice while entering the penalty box. He'll be back for this contest, which everyone is expecting to be another tight one.

Each game in the series has been decided by one goal, with both clubs taking one in overtime. It's part of the reason the Blues are still feeling good despite missing a chance to close out the series at home.

''Let's get playing,'' coach Ken Hitchcock said. ''We've got to find another way to make them crack.''

St. Louis has outscored Chicago 8-4 in the third period and overtime and fought back in Game 4 with goals from Robby Fabbri and David Backes to send it to OT. It's the type of resolve the Blues might need again to keep Chicago from forcing a Game 7 on Monday in St. Louis.

''We've played in a lot of overtimes with this team and had some long stretches here in playoff runs, so when you get those opportunities sometimes you come up big,'' Kane said. ''Sometimes you get lucky, too.''

And that's exactly how Pietrangelo feels the Blackhawks won Thursday after claiming the Blues "outplayed" the Blackhawks. He assisted on all three St. Louis goals, tying him with Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko for the team lead with five playoff points.

''I thought we played one of our better games,'' Pietrangelo said. ''It's going to be a tough place to win. We won the last two there, though.''


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