Blackhawks Buzz: April 21, 2014 vs. St. Louis Blues - Game 3
The Blackhawks head into Monday’s game down 0-2 in their series to St. Louis, having dropped two overtime contests to the Blues in Games 1 and 2. When the series shifts to Chicago on Monday night, the situation will be very clear for the Blackhawks—without a win in Game 3, the path to the next round will be a very difficult one. However, the Blackhawks are a veteran team who have faced this adversity before: They were down 0-3 to Vancouver in the 2011 playoffs before evening the series and forcing overtime in Game 7, and just last year they rebounded from a 3-1 series deficit against Detroit. A win in Game 3 would be their first step to getting back into the series.
Forward Brandon Saad posted his second career postseason multi-point outing with two helpers at St. Louis on Saturday, and he currently leads the team with three assists through two playoff contests. The Gibsonia, Pa., native has 10 points (1G, 9A) in 27 career postseason games for the Blackhawks.
Although a handful of Blues forwards have tallied in the first two games, St. Louis’ leading scorer through two games is defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk. The New Rochelle, N.Y., native recorded a three-point (1G, 2A) game on Saturday, which included a goal with :02 remaining in the first period and an assist on Vladimir Tarasenko’s tying goal with :07 left in regulation. Shattenkirk become the first Blues defenseman since Al MacInnis to record three points in a playoff game (April 24, 1999).
The defensemen have been racking up points on the Blackhawks’ side as well, as Brent Seabrook, Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival accounted for Chicago’s three tallies on Saturday. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it marks just the fourth time in franchise history that three different defensemen have found the back of the net for the Blackhawks in one playoff game: Doug Wilson, Behn Wilson and Jack O’Callahan did that twice in 1985 (Game 1 vs. DET, Game 1 vs. MIN), while Doug Wilson, Dave Manson and Bob Murray did so in 1990 (Game 3 at STL). Seabrook registered his second multi-point game of the playoffs as well, and currently leads the team with four points (2G, 2A) in the postseason.
Blues defenseman Barret Jackman recorded his second career playoff goal with Game 2’s overtime winner. His other was the decisive marker with 51 seconds remaining in regulation in a 2-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals. Jackman joins Jeff Brown (4) and Chris Pronger (2) as the only defensemen in Blues history with two or more postseason game-winning goals. According to ESPN Stats & Information, the 33-year-old blueliner is the fourth defenseman in Blues history to score an overtime playoff goal and the first to do so since Bryce Salvador in Game 5 of the 2001 Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. the San Jose Sharks.
Though their 0-2 series deficit does make the path to victory all the more difficult, this is still a Blackhawks team that has faced its share of adversity and come out safely on the other side. Having home ice, where Head Coach Joel Quenneville will be given the last change, will ensure that Chicago gets the matchups they want for Games 3 and 4. With a couple of bounces going their way and a charged United Center crowd, the Blackhawks could make it so that this series is far from over.