Momentum has been a common theme in this playoff series between the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues. After tonight’s 3-2 overtime win, the Blackhawks certainly have it. The Blackhawks survived two Blues comebacks to get the much-needed and vital Game 5 win on the road in St. Louis, their first win in the Gateway to the West all season.
Knowing how important it was to get a road win, the Hawks came out aggressive and determined. Of course, the Blues had a big boost before the game started with the return of their captain David Backes. The Hawks got on the board first thanks to Marian Hossa scoring at 16:11 in the first off his own rebound. But the Blues answered at 11:04 in the second when T.J. Oshie scored from his knees to beat Corey Crawford.
But unlike earlier games in St. Louis, the Hawks kept their composure. Ben Smith — who’s been having a fantastic series — backhanded a rebound from Sheldon Brookbank. But the Blues weren’t done. Alex Pietrangelo beat Crawford to tie the game. After several big chances — including one by Oshie that confused the Blues’ lights people, but was saved by Crawford — it went to overtime. That’s where Jonathan Toews, after a big chance by the Blues, beat Ryan Miller on a fantastic breakaway.
Remember those horrendous first two games of the series? Those have been long forgotten by now. The Hawks have been playing better since then, and tonight was no exception. It’s telling that they didn’t panic when Oshie and Pietrangelo scored their goals. Since this is essentially the same team that came back from a 3-1 deficit and 2-1 deficit last year, there’s little surprise.
Even better, Hossa finally got a goal! OK, it’s still important, but what’s just as important is how the Hawks have kept their cool in tough situations. They didn’t even have a penalty in the entire second period! Discipline? Aggressiveness? Just what the doctor ordered, and they haven’t even changed their game plan! And Crawford, well, he’s proving his doubters wrong.
Of course, now, the Hawks have an opportunity to close out the Blues at home. They have the momentum, firepower and history to do the job. And for the Blues, memories of their 2013 playoff crash-out are flooding back. For now, the Hawks got a very important road win that was a long time coming.