The longest game in St. Louis Blues franchise history might just mark one of their biggest wins in decades.
Alexander Steen scored 26 seconds into a third overtime period to give the Blues a 4-3 win and a 1-0 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks. Neither team will get much time to rest up, as Game 2 takes place in St. Louis on Saturday.
The game started off fast and furious. Both teams combined for five goals in the first period, with the Blackhawks taking a 3-2 lead into the first intermission. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane didn’t look all that rusty – at least early on – as Toews collected two assists while Kane gave the Blackhawks a temporary lead.
Broadly speaking, the game began with “Blackhawks hockey” and then arguably transitioned to a style that might be friendlier to the Blues.
Then again, shots totals would argue that Ryan Miller’s performance improved as the game went along, rather than the style of play really changing. One things for sure, though: things became more physical.
Toews was the target of some abuse, but seemed to shake things off. Time will tell if he goes back on the injury list, though.
Miller definitely bounced back in the game, stopping 39 out of 42 shots. Corey Crawford was great in his own right in making 48 out of 52 stops, yet his career playoff overtime record dropped to 8-7 after tonight.
Miller got the win, but he definitely got some help from his teammates, too:
The Blackhawks kept that 3-2 lead through plenty of game time, but Jaden Schwartz scored with less than two minutes left in the third period:
Chalk it up to two fantastic teams, their rivalries or it being early in the postseason, but the two teams didn’t slow down a whole lot in the two overtime periods (and change into the third). There were plenty of near-misses, including a Patrick Sharp semi-breakaway that might haunt the talented sniper.
The Blackhawks have shown the will to fight back from tough losses, so one can argue that this was more important to St. Louis than Chicago. Either way, this series already seems like it might live up to the hype of being one of the best first-round matchups one can imagine.