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Blues Exorcise Demons, Eliminate Blackhawks

Blues, Flames go for Playoff Berth yet again Dinur/via flickr.com

St. Louis Hangs on for 3-2 Win to Advance to Second Round for First Time since 2012

NHL

ST. LOUIS-The St. Louis Blues entered this year’s playoffs with a bit of pressure on them. Great regular seasons hadn’t equaled great postseasons as they had not gotten past the first round the last three seasons. This year, they needed to get past probably their most hated rival, the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks. They did.

The Blues were finally able to knock out the Blackhawks, getting a 3-2 win in Game 7 Monday night at the Scottrade Center to get their first series win since 2012.

Having been unable to knock out Chicago in games 5 & 6, St. Louis didn’t seemed phased by the challenge of doing it in Game 7 as they jumped ahead 1-0 exactly one minute into the game when forward Jori Lehtera scored his first goal of the series.

With 6:17 left in the first, the Blues extended their lead to 2-0 when defenseman Colton Parayko netted his second of the playoffs. However, Chicago didn’t let that lead last into the intermission.

With 1:30 to play in the period, veteran Marian Hossa got the Blackhawks back into the game when he got his third goal of the postseason to send the game to the intermission at 2-1.

Chicago continued their push back early in the second when Andrew Shaw tied the game 3:20 into the middle frame with his fourth goal of the series.

The teams went back and forth at each other in that second period, combining for 25 shots on goal. However, both goalies, Brian Elliott and Corey Crawford, kept their teams in it and the game tied heading into the third period.

As one could imagine, the third period was a tense affair. Both teams looked cautious, looking to avoid making the one mistake that could cost them the series. In year past, the Blues were the team that would make the mistake. This season, it was the Blackhawks.

8:31 into the final frame, Chicago rookie defenseman Erik Gustafsson turned the puck over in the neutral zone. St. Louis forward Robby Fabbri put pressure on the first-year blue liner, causing Gustafsson to turn the puck over to Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo.

Pietrangelo moved the puck ahead into his team’s offensive zone, where it was picked up along the boards by Paul Stastny. Stastny won a battle along the wall, passed it cross ice to Fabbri, who then fed a wide open Troy Brouwer at the side of the net.

Brouwer’s first shot hit the post, despite Crawford being caught out of position and leaving an open net. However, after two misses, Brouwer was able to get his stick on the puck and bury his first goal of the playoff to give the Blues a 3-2 lead and send the home fans into a frenzy.

As was expected, though, the Blackhawks pushed back hard as the period went along, looking to tie the game. Their best chance to do so came late in the game when defenseman Brent Seabrook took a shot from above the right circle that hit both posts, but never crossed the line, before Pietrangelo cleared it away.

St. Louis would hang on to the 3-2 advantage to finally take the series from Chicago. The Blues had been up 3-1 in the series before the Blackhawks won games 5 & 6 to force the winner-take-all Game 7.

Not only was the win St. Louis’ first playoff series win since 2012, it was also their first Game 7 since 1999.

The Blues will now move on to face the top-seeded Dallas Stars in the second round.

Three Stars of the Game:

1st Star: Troy Brouwer, STL

2nd Star: Brian Elliott, STL

3rd Star: Robby Fabbri, STL

TSJ Sports Radio presents Outside Tha Locker Room. Hottest Takes in the game
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