Chicago Blackhawks v St. Louis Blues - Game One

Blues prevail in longest game in franchise history as Steen scores in third OT

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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.

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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.

Devils unveil ‘The Salute’ statue in honor of Martin Brodeur

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The New Jersey Devils on Monday unveiled ‘The Salute’ — a statue paying homage to one of the greatest goalies in NHL history, Martin Brodeur, who will have his No. 30 uniform retired Tuesday at Prudential Center.

“Looking at the pictures of my career and some of the events that meant a lot to me, I always saluted the fans,” Brodeur, a three-time Stanley Cup winner with the Devils, told the Fire and Ice blog.

“That picture, at different times, in different jerseys, actually, like with Team Canada, it all came to that same pose.”

More on the statue from the Devils:

The 900-pound bronze statue was created by renowned sculpture and artist Jon Krawczyk, who worked with Brodeur on the design. Krawczyk, a Boonton Township, N.J. native and lifelong Devils fan, who also created the hockey statue on Championship Plaza outside of Prudential Center, personally drove “The Salute” from his Malibu, Cali. studio to the arena late last week.

Video: Panthers furious after Abdelkader ‘cheap shot’ hit on Barkov

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The Florida Panthers are fuming after their skilled 20-year-old forward Aleksander Barkov left Monday’s game against the Detroit Red Wings following a hit from Justin Abdelkader.

Abdelkader caught Barkov with a hard hit near the goal line as the Panthers player tried to move the puck up ice early in the second period.

The only call on the play was to Panthers’ blue liner Alex Petrovic for the retaliatory cross check on Abdelkader. Barkov left the game and didn’t return with an upper-body injury.

Members of the Panthers irate with the hit, and the fact there was no call.

“It was a cheap hit, I don’t know how the ref didn’t call it,” Nick Bjugstad told the Miami Herald. “It was frustrating, the whole bench felt that way. We’re not happy with it. It turned the game around. Barkov has tough shoes to fill. It looked pretty serious. We’ll see how the league handles it and I think they will. I just don’t know how it wasn’t handled on the ice.”

“You hate to lose your top player, but that’s part of the game,” added Panthers’ head coach Gerard Gallant.

“We’re disappointed to lose him. I thought it was a cheap shot but the referees didn’t see it that way and explained to me it was a clean check. It’s tough. It happens quick and we get to see the replay. I think it’ll be looked at. [Abdelkader] left his feet a little and got him in the jaw.”

The Panthers gave up three goals in the third period in a 3-0 loss to the Red Wings.

Penguins thump the Ducks as Crosby’s hot streak continues

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In a meeting between two clubs enjoying hot streaks and their own subsequent climbs through the standings, the Pittsburgh Penguins bested the Anaheim Ducks courtesy another dominant Sidney Crosby performance on Monday.

After that slow start, Crosby has put together a growing number of dominant performances of late.

The latest, a four-point night, helped the Penguins to a 6-2 final over the Ducks, stopping Anaheim’s winning streak at six games.

— He extended his scoring streak to a career best seven games, and did so with two beauty goals versus the Ducks.

— From Dec. 18 to Feb. 8, he’s appeared in 21 games. In that span, he’s recorded 34 points.

— Crosby is now into the top five among NHL players in points, with 53 in 51 games this season.

He wasn’t the only Pittsburgh player to have a big night. Keep in mind, Evgeni Malkin wasn’t even in the lineup due to a lower-body injury.

Ten different Penguins players recorded points. In addition to Crosby, Chris Kunitz and Kris Letang had multi-point efforts, and four players — Kunitz, Crosby, Olli Maatta and Patric Hornqvist — were plus-four.

The Penguins now move into third in the Metropolitan Division, while the New York Islanders slip into the first Wild Card spot in the East. Pittsburgh’s lead over the Islanders, however, is only one point.

The Islanders also have a game in hand.

Panthers’ Barkov (upper-body injury) leaves game versus Red Wings

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The Florida Panthers will be without Aleksander Barkov for the remainder of their game versus the Detroit Red Wings on Monday.

As per multiple reports, Barkov will not return due to an upper-body injury suffered after a hit from Justin Abdelkader early in the second period.

Abdelkader wasn’t given a penalty on the play. Barkov didn’t play another shift after that hit.

In 42 games this season, the 20-year-old Barkov has 16 goals and 35 points.