Blues hold on to beat Blackhawks, push defending champs to brink of elimination

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The defending Stanley Cup champions are one defeat away from having their title defense come to an end in the opening round.

The Chicago Blackhawks now trail the St. Louis Blues 3-1 in their best-of-seven series, following a 4-3 loss on home ice in Game 4 on Tuesday. Tensions between these Central Division rivals have been growing throughout this series and there were a few eruptions over the course of this game.

First, it was Chicago goalie Corey Crawford going after Blues forward Robby Fabbri after a collision in the crease, causing a massive melee in the corner. The referees decided the Blackhawks should get the power play out of it and Chicago took the lead on a Duncan Keith goal with the ensuing advantage.

The controversy subsided, however, as the Blues tied the game before the end of the middle period. Vladimir Tarasenko continued adding to his list of impressive playoff performances, scoring twice, including the tying goal on a St. Louis power play late in the second.

The Blues then opened up a two-goal lead less than five minutes into the third period. Jaden Schwartz capitalized on the power play and Alexander Steen scored 3:10 later.

Despite getting to within a goal, and having a St. Louis empty-net goal called back after it was determined the play was offside, the Blackhawks couldn’t score the equalizer in the third period.

When the clock ran out, another gathering occurred with Andrew Shaw in the midst of it. A total of 11 game misconducts were handed out at the end, as per NHL.com.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

The Crawford incident was just the start, as the game devolved into post-whistle scrums and facewashes and shoving matches. In the ugliest moment, Shaw, after taking his penalty for pushing Jay Bouwmeester in front of the goal, appeared to yell a homophobic slur from the penalty box.

Shaw, who flashed both middle fingers on his way to the box, neither denied nor admitted saying it.

“Emotions were high, I don’t know what I said,” Shaw said. “Obviously, I was upset with the call.”