The first playoff game between the reigning Stanley Cup champs Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues started fast and furious, with the Blues playing a more physical first period. It paid off as they took Game One 1-0 in overtime.
Elliott withstands a 5-on-3
The Blackhawks had a 5-on-3 advantage late in the period, but failed to get the rubber disc by Blues’ goalie Brian Elliott. The Blackhawks are so talented at blocking the shooting lanes, and blocked shots before they were able to get to goalie Corey Crawford.
The scoreless first period showed that playoff goaltending will prevail as the formula for victory.
Second period action
The second period had some additional scoring chances, with Jonathan Toews getting a partial breakaway only to be stymied by Elliott. Through two periods, Elliott has been brilliant, playing the angles perfectly, and seeming very cool and calm. Elliott had to face 20 shots, but stopped each one.
Crawford had to only make 14 saves through two periods, but was just as solid. The Blues were pounding the Blackhawks with 28 hits, hoping to wear down last year’s Cup victors.
It’s clear to the Blues that they need this first game win to prevent their playoff woes from continuing. Besides, losing game one would put them in the disadvantage of keeping home ice. Needless to say, it would also destroy their already low confidence level they have, due to past playoff failures.
With the start of the third period, and four minutes in, the already short handed Chicago defense lost Michal Rozsival when he was hit high with a legal check. He returned midway through the period. Where is Duncan Keith when you need him... oh yeah was was suspended for this game due to his high sticking antics.
Patrick Kane was cross-checked to the ice, and both teams got the impression that the refs were going to let them play. That didn’t prevent the NHL’s leading scorer from complaining about the lack of a call.
Blues playing physical
Artemi Panarin, the sensational rookie of the Hawks rifled a wrist shot high on Elliott late in the period, and was stopped. The scoreless Black and Blue playoff game was getting more and more bruising for the Hawks as the Blues tallied 41 hits for the three periods of play. Yet, their offense fell way short with only two shots on goal. That was due to the fact that the Blackhawks had possession of the puck for the last half of regulation.
This game ended without a score, so overtime had to be be played. It marked the fifth straight year that the Chicago Blackhawks played an overtime game in the first game of the playoffs. They seem to feed off the drama and excitement.
The excitement ended for Chicago at 10:56 of overtime when Blues Captain David Backes scored when he he banked a shot off Trevor van Riensdyk’s stick/skate and past Crawford.
The Blues won Game One 1-0 in overtime.