ST. LOUIS—A coach’s challenge in the nick of time resulted in third-period momentum for the Blackhawks.The defending Stanley Cup champions made it stayed that way.Andrew Shaw stuffed home a rebound on a power play with 4:19 remaining, minutes after Joel Quenneville prevailed on a call that resulted in an offside call that negated a goal, and the Blackhawks pulled even with the St. Louis Blues in their first-round series with a 3-2 victory Friday night.
“Right away, somebody said on the bench, ‘It’s offsides,'” Quenneville said. “We got it late and I was screaming like a crazy man.” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock insinuated that the call, after a lengthy review, went the Blackhawks’ way for a reason. “When you play the defending Cup champions, you’re going to have to fight through a lot of stuff,” Hitchcock said. “Calls aren’t going to go your way, you’re not going to get the officiating you want. It’s always going to seem like it’s one-sided. Big deal, fight through it.”
Corey Crawford had a strong game in net and Duncan Keith also scored in his first game back from a six-game suspension for a dangerous high stick to Minnesota’s Charlie Coyle. Keith assisted on rookie Artemi Panarin‘s clinching empty-net goal with 1:34 to go, and Patrick Kane had two assists.
“It was just kind of nice to shake a little rust off there and get my legs back underneath me,” said Keith, who led all skaters in ice time with 30 minutes and 59 seconds. “It’s different when you’re skating and practicing and training and working out to jumping into a game, especially when it’s fast-paced like that.”
The Blackhawks did what it took to send a sellout crowd home sour with the series shifting to the United Center for Game 3 on Sunday at 2pm. “If we’re going to get the bounce, we’ll wait as long as we have to, I guess,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “There’s no doubt that to a certain degree it takes a little bit away from the energy in the building.”
Vladimir Tarasenko started the scoring for St. Louis and nearly had the go-ahead goal at 12:14 of the third. After a lengthy replay, it was determined that Jori Lehtera had been offside by inches.
“It’s a great call by Matt Meacham, our video coach,” Keith said. “Obviously they felt down. We had to step on the throttle, and we did.” Blues captain David Backes thought the losers’ game improved from the opener and wasn’t happy to have the game decided by officiating. “I’ve seen that offsides a million times and … we’ll bite our tongues on it,” Backes said. “It’s a play where it’s a critical time in a game and you hope that they’re 100 percent sure with what they saw, they saw.”
Tarasenko was in the penalty box with 8 seconds left to serve in a slashing penalty when Shaw, who had 14 goals in the regular season, scored on the rebound of a shot by Brent Seabrook.The Blues lost a challenge, and their timeout, unsuccessfully arguing that goalie Brian Elliott had been pushed into the net.
“We’ve got to put ourselves in a position where those calls don’t make or break the game,” Elliott said, adding, “I don’t know what the rules are anymore.”
Kevin Shattenkirk scored for St. Louis with 2 seconds to go, making it a one-goal decision.Keith gave the Blackhawks their first goal of the series, tying it at 1 with 5 seconds left in the second period.Both teams had several good scoring chances in a wide-open second period, including a shot off the crossbar by Panarin and a breakaway by Kane that fizzled when defenseman Jay Bouwmeester got a piece of his stick late, before both teams cashed in.Tarasenko, who led the Blues with a career-best 40 goals, got his first of the playoffs on a one-timer at 15:20 set up when Lehtera stole the puck from Michal Rozsival on the forecheck.Jonathan Toews won the faceoff and Kane got the puck to Keith on the tying goal, a shot through traffic from the point with 4.4 seconds left in the second.
NOTES—Besides Keith, the Blackhawks gave forward Richard Panik his first start with defenseman Erik Gustafsson and forward Brandon Mashinter sitting. The Blues had no changes. … Blackhawks F Andrew Ladd played Game 1, returned to Chicago, missing by minutes the birth of his third child late Wednesday night, and was back in St. Louis for Game 2. “My wife was very cool about allowing me to go,” Ladd said.