ST. LOUIS – Andrew Shaw had just one thought running through his mind as the St. Louis Blues challenged his goal, claiming goaltender interference.
“Just count. Just count, please,” he said.
It did, and thanks to that and a late empty-net goal, the Blackhawks are going back to Chicago tied 1-1 in their first-round series.
Shaw’s power-play goal counted and Artemi Panarin’s empty-net goal proved to be the winner as the Blackhawks beat the Blues 3-2 on Friday night. The two square off again on Sunday afternoon in Chicago.
Duncan Keith, back after serving his six-game suspension, had a goal and an assist. Patrick Kane had two assists and Corey Crawford stopped 29 of 31 shots in the victory. Vladimir Tarasenko and Kevin Shattenkirk scored for the Blues.
On a night when coach’s challenges came into play twice, the Blackhawks were the beneficiaries both times. The first nullified a Blues goal. Tarasenko looked to give the Blues a 2-1 lead with less than eight minutes remaining in regulation. But the Blackhawks challenged for offside and, after a lengthy review, the officials ruled it no goal.
“Someone on the bench said it’s offside and we got it late, and I was screaming like a crazy man, just got [the review] in time,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “I think the longer [the review] went, we felt better about it.”
About four minutes later the Blues countered with their own coach’s challenge, saying Shaw interfered with goaltender Brian Elliott on his power-play goal. This review wasn’t nearly as long and went against the Blues, giving the Blackhawks a 2-1 lead with 4:19 remaining in regulation.
It was quite the turn of events. The Blues could live with the offside ruling – “I mean the offside is offside. It’s cut and dry,” Ryan Reaves said. But the Blues were frustrated that Shaw’s goal counted.
“We’re going to have to fight,” coach Ken Hitchcock said. “When you play the defending Cup champions you’re going to have to fight through a lot of stuff. Calls aren’t going to go your way. It’s always going to seem one-sided… Big deal. Fight through it.”
The Blackhawks had to fight through their goal-less drought through (nearly) the first 40 minutes of this one, too. Then it was Keith, fresh off his suspension and back playing a big role, scoring with just 3.2 seconds remaining in the second period. His goal ended the Blackhawks’ postseason scoreless drought at 109 minutes.
“Well he picked up where we left off last year in the playoffs,” Jonathan Toews said. “We know what he brings. We put him out there in situations and eventually something’s going to happen. He brought that tonight.”
Then came the two coach’s challenges in the third period, including the one that kept Shaw’s goal in place.
“I didn’t know if they were going to look at goalie interference or not but I knew I was crosschecked from behind,” Shaw said. “I was confident it was a goal but obviously there was some doubt there as well.”
The Blackhawks wanted to leave St. Louis with a split. They were an overtime goal away from taking two but they’ll take 1-1 going home. They’ll take both coach’s challenge rulings, too.
“Well we felt we had to win one and we know we were compromised coming in here Game 1 without Duncs. Getting it back after a real tough loss, it was a great response,” Quenneville said. “Take one game at a time. We know it’s going to get tougher as we go along but we like the progression with today’s win.”