It’s not over.
After the first period that first sentence was similar, it just didn’t include the “not.” Because at that point, with the Blackhawks trailing the St. Louis Blues 3-1, it certainly looked like this game and this series was over.
But over the next 40 minutes, the Blackhawks showed they had other ideas. And while we shouldn’t be surprised the Blackhawks found a way to force a Game 7, we’re a little stunned nonetheless.
Enough about all of that; there will be plenty of time to talk about Game 7 on Sunday. Right now, let’s get to the Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 6-3 victory over the Blues.
1. Overcoming a two-goal deficit. The Blackhawks were 3-15-1 this season when they trailed after the first period. That’s a surprising stat, given how good the Blackhawks have been over the last few seasons at coming back. So it didn’t look good entering the second period on Saturday night. But five unanswered goals later, the Blackhawks showed that counting them out is a really bad idea, no matter what their usual record when trailing might be.
2. The acquisitions contribute. Andrew Ladd had the opening goal and an assist, Richard Panik helped set up Trevor van Riemsdyk’s tying goal, and Dale Weise had the game-winning goal. One of the biggest questions entering the postseason was if the players acquired at the deadline were going to make a difference. Well, they did in Game 6, and their work is making the Blackhawks look more complete with their lines. Said coach Joel Quenneville, “We had our best game of the series and best four-line rotation of the series. We like the progress.”
3. Andrew Desjardins exhales. Desjardins had an empty net in front of him and a Weise pass heading his way early in the first period. But the shot sailed wide, and the Blues responded by tying the game a few seconds later. That, and the rest of the first period, could have been a deflating moment for Desjardins and the Blackhawks. But the final score had everyone feeling better. Said Desjardins, “I mean, you know, for a second it’s obviously not a great feeling. But ... it’s a long game and you have to try to rebound from that. Just rebound and try to focus on other things.”
4. Andrew Shaw returns with a bang. Shaw went from the top line to start the game to the second line by the second period, but he gave the Blackhawks some much-needed breathing room (a two-goal lead) with his power-play goal late in the third period. Shaw said he’s learned his lesson from his terrible choice of words in Game 4, which cost him Game 5. He stayed much more calm in Game 6 and, more important, stayed out of the penalty box. On his goal he was where he plays best: right in front of the net.
5. And the teams played on. Yeah, we wouldn’t have guessed when the Blackhawks went down 3-1 after Game 4 that there would be a Game 7 between them and the Blues. But that’s where it stands. Who has the edge? The Blues are heading back home, where they’ve won just one game in this series. The Blackhawks are playing their fifth Game 7 in Quenneville’s tenure; they’ve won two of the previous four. So it’ll probably be a typical Game 7: Flip a coin to figure out the winner.