Blackhawks' early third period goals took wind from Blues

Blackhawks' early third period goals took wind from Blues
April 27, 2014, 7:15 pm
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Nina Falcone

 

It was a bit of a relief on the Chicago Blackhawks' side of things when the second period of Sunday's Game 6 matchup ended in a tie.

Throughout those 20 minutes, the Blackhawks spent eight of them in the penalty box, allowing themselves to generate just three shots on goal in that span. 

The St. Louis Blues were given six power-play opportunities on Sunday, yet were unable to capitalize on any of those chances en route to their 5-1 loss inside the United Center. 

It was the Blackhawks who took advantage when given that chance, and the Blues said that was the game-changer.

"The way we played the first 40 minutes, the game was probably tilted in our favor," captain David Backes said. "Quite a few chances, quite a few power-play opportunities. We didn't capitalize and then you're going into the third with a 1-1 game in Game 6. Then they got a power-play goal and it seemed to have more of an effect on us than it should have."

[MORE: Blackhawks advance to second round with Game 6 win over Blues]

Jonathan Toews found the back of the net less than a minute into the third to score that power-play goal. Patrick Sharp followed just over a minute later, and it was at that moment that the mood shifted for the Blues.

"I think we had a real good feeling going into the third," head coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We made a mistake on the penalty kill. Their power play at the start of the third, we got caught. Even at 2-1, we're still in good shape. That third goal was really the backbreaker for us. That was really the one that hurt because we were chasing all series and able to catch up. But I thought the third goal really took the wind out of our sails.

"We were in the power plays because of the way we worked and battled. We played a great first two periods, but I thought the third goal... you could really see a big sag after that."

[RELATED: Despite loss, Blues feel they're close to something great]

The Blues' fall began happening rather quickly after that. Andrew Shaw cushioned the Blackhawks' lead even further, and Duncan Keith found the back of the net with three minutes left in the game.

When it came down to it, the Blues weren't all that disappointed in their performance on Sunday — aside from their third period — or at any point earlier in the series. But it was that late push from the Blackhawks that allowed them to close out the series and move on.

"That's the momentum-kicker right there when they got that second one," forward Steve Ott said. "And then they obviously played strong throughout the rest of the period. We couldn't catch up."