Blackhawks drop Game 1 to the Blues 4-3 in triple OT

Blackhawks drop Game 1 to the Blues 4-3 in triple OT

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Going into Game 1 the Blues were supposedly the fragile team but in the end they got what they deserved. At the 26 second mark of the third overtime Alexander Steen scored the game winner. St. Louis should no longer have confidence concerns after defeating the Blackhawks 4-3.

The Hawks will look to regroup and respond with a better performance in Game 2 on Saturday afternoon. They would have never made it to OT if not for strong game from Corey Crawford. The Blackhawks recorded all of their goals in the first period and the Blues had more good scoring opportunities in the game.

Crawford probably will take some blame on the Blues game tying marker late in the third frame. St. Louis was pressuring all period and was finally rewarded. On the game winner Crawford could have frozen the puck but the Blues outhustled the Hawks and created the game winning opportunity and converted.

The contest started with a bang as five goals were scored in the opening period. The Blackhawks came out strong but the Blues responded. The Hawks did have a 3-2 edge after the opening 20 minutes.

In the beginning, Ryan Miller looked tentative and wasn't at his best. He did improve in the second period and made some big stops. The Hawks could have easily had a two goal lead early in the second frame but Miller kept his club within striking distance.

As the game wore on the Blues were the better club and if not for Crawford the game would have ended in regulation. There were times in the second stanza the Blues appeared to have trouble keeping up, but they stayed determined. Through sixty minutes St. Louis had the edge in play and the Hawks appeared fatigued in the late stages of the third period.

After the Blues tied the game with 1:45 remaining in the third frame, they appeared the fresher club and were on a roll. To the Blackhawks credit they got a second wind and outplayed St. Louis in period four.

The Hawks were outshot 14-6 in the third period but had a strong effort in the 1st OT period to outshoot the Blues 14-10. St. Louis had the better of play in the 2nd OT and then put the game away in the opening seconds of the 3rd OT period.

Two of the elder statesman for Chicago who were big contributors last spring struggled in Game 1.

Michal Rozsival never looked comfortable although his play improved in the late going. Rozsival was out of position on the Blues first goal. Michal Handzus looked slower than usual and simply wasn't good. Unfortunately for the Blackhawks those two weren't the only players to have issues.

Andrew Shaw was invisible for much of the night. Both Shaw and Kris Versteeg took needless penalties. Marian Hossa struggled and Jonathan Toews wasn't as noticeable as he normally is in big games.

The Hawks fourth line was outplayed by their counterparts from St. Louis. Only Ben Smith seemed to be effective. Throughout this season the fourth line has been the most consistent, so their sub-par performance was surprising.

The Hawks power play only connected on one of six attempts and recorded just five shots on goal. The Blues were held scoreless in four power play attempts although they generated some good chances. The only real edge in play for the Blackhawks was in the faceoff circle as they were winners of 57% of all draws.

Patrick Kane scored a nice goal and was credited with six shots as was Patrick Sharp. In the late going Kane appeared a bit tired, but that shouldn't be a surprise as he returned after missing about a month of playing time.

Joel Quenneville could look to make some lineup changes in Game 2. Maybe Jeremy Morin and Peter Regin will dress and replace Brandon Bollig and Handzus.

Quenneville is a fan of Handzus and he does play significant minutes as a penalty killer. Quenneville may have little choice but to sit Handzus as he looked out of place and slower than usual. If Handzus is scratched, Quenneville will have to find a new second line center. Maybe that will mean Shaw or Smith will move up to center for Kane and Bryan Bickell.

Bollig has had a nice season but he looked tentative last night. Bollig brings a physical element and he did have six hits but the fourth line may need a shuffle.

As expected the Blues pounded away at the Blackhawks and recorded 42 hits.

Too often the Hawks couldn't quicken the pace of play. They had trouble creating offense and could not get going in transition. The Blues are solid defensively and well coached, so they do deserve a good deal of credit.

Quenneville may have to be more reactive than usual and look for a spark in Game 2. Unless the Blues suffer additional injuries they could be healthier in games to come. If so, that won't make the task any easier for the Blackhawks.

Al's Shots

In double overtime with the Blues down a man they cleared the puck up and over the glass. It should have been a delay of game penalty and the officials missed the call.

The NHL has done video review longer than any other sport but there are plays that should be reviewed but can't be according to the rules. Some goal scoring plays aren't reviewable and that's a concern.

Suffering a delay of game penalty because of a puck inadvertently shot over the glass is difficult to take. At the very least in an OT period that play should be reviewable. Pucks that hit the netting and aren't noticed should also be eligible for video review.

Quenneville went crazy on the bench and for good reason as the Hawks would have had a 5 on 3 advantage.

I don't defend officiating often, and there should be at least one of the four officials who sees the play and can make the correct call. That said it is often difficult to tell for sure.

The Toronto War Room should take a look and make sure the correct call is made.

On a power play Quenneville likes to use two defensemen at the points in the late going of a tied game or when Hawks are winning. The tactic makes sense, although using Rozsival in that situation last night made little sense.

It's not that Rozsival doesn't have some offense to his game but if a puck escaped him at the blue line he isn't winning a foot race. In my view better to rotate Keith, Seabrook and Leddy or possibly use Johnny Oduya. Any of those players will have better chance of skating over 100 feet to stop a breakaway attempt after a turnover.

I get the safety first approach ...But why use the slowest defenseman in that situation?

I will be back on Sunday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @AlCimaglia.

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