Michal Handzus , Steve Ott

WATCH LIVE: Chicago Blackhawks at St. Louis Blues (Game 5)

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The series between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues has been the closest of the first round matchups. Three of the four contests have gone to overtime, but the home team has won every game.

Given that the Blues have home ice advantage in this series, the onus is on Chicago to snap that trend.

“It’s (about) closing it out,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville told CSN Chicago. “You look at all the games we’ve had here, it looks like we’re getting something out of the game (but it was) definitely disappointing the two prior games. For the most part, I’ve liked how we’ve played in all the games this year but we need to play our best game tonight.”

It remains to be seen if St. Louis will have forward David Backes tonight. He has been out since Saturday due to a high hit from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook.

He didn’t participate in the Blues’ morning skate, so it would be surprising to see him in the game. However, given that this is the playoffs, Blues coach Ken Hitchcock decided to be non-committal about Backes’ availability.

Update: >a href=”http://prohockeytalk.nbcsports.com/2014/04/25/blues-get-captain-david-backes-back-tonight/”>Backes will play after all.

What is certain is that the game will be on NBCSN. The start time is 8:00 p.m. and you can stream it online:



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Video: Flyers, Bolts confirm 3-on-3 OT is pretty much the greatest thing ever


Well, the NHL’s two new initiatives for ’15-16 seem to be going swimmingly.

Not long after Ottawa successfully made the second-ever coach’s challenge, fans got their first look at 3-on-3 overtime.

And what a look it was.

In the span of 137 seconds, the Tampa Bay Lightning and Philadelphia Flyers combined for eight shots on goal, a few breakaways, some tremendous saves — including one on a penalty shot — and, finally, Jason Garrison‘s game-winning goal on a breakaway from center, giving the Bolts a 3-2 win.

It was, in a word, fun.

Lots of fun.

A quick sampling of reviews:

Of course, not everybody was a fan:

Now, to temper things a bit — this was the first time we’ve seen 3-on-3 with something on the line, so there was a novelty factor at play. There’s also no guaranteeing future OT sessions will be as exciting as this.

But none of that takes away from the fact 3-on-3 made for appointment viewing, and immense entertainment value. The prospect of future games like this? That’s pretty exciting.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron (Updated)


Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Update: Bergeron stayed in the game, but B’s head coach Claude Julien was none too pleased with the hit. Following the game, he called for the NHL’s Department of Player Safety to look at it…