Toews makes no mistake, Hawks capture Game 5, 3-2 in OT

Toews makes no mistake, Hawks capture Game 5, 3-2 in OT

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Anyone who doesn't watch playoff hockey is doing themselves a huge injustice. For the fourth time in five games overtime was required to determine a winner. On Wednesday, Patrick Kane was the hero and in Game 5 Jonathan Toews did the honors to lift the Blackhawks to a 3-2 victory.

Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock remarked after the game his club made four or five mistakes and three of them led to Chicago goals. On the game winner the Blues got caught deep in the Hawks zone and their defensemen were not protecting the middle of the ice. Duncan Keith swatted the puck out of the zone and it went to Toews as if it had eyes. The Hawks captain raced in from center ice, made a nice fake and beat a sprawling Ryan Miller.

Often mistakes lead to goals and the Blues took advantage of a Nick Leddy miscue to tie the game at two. Leddy was in a rush and shot the puck but missed the net. In that situation Leddy shouldn't have shot unless he was positive to hit the net. The puck bounded out of the zone quickly leading to a four on two and Alex Pietrangelo beat Corey Crawford to tie the game.

The other two Blackhawk tallies by Marian Hossa and Ben smith were the result of hard work and strong individual efforts. Both Hossa and Smith had very good games. Hossa led the Hawks with seven shots which tied a game high and Smith has done well playing on the second line.

It seems like it took forever, and it did take a long time, but Joel Quenneville has finally moved Michal Handzus to the fourth line. Smith has played well on both sides of the puck and looks good with Kane. The second line can now play with more speed and has been creating scoring chances.

The Hawks will get Brent Seabrook back for the Sunday matinee. Sheldon Brookbank did a great job filling in for Seabrook. In Game 5, Brookbank picked up an assist and recorded two hits. Brookbank played 18:35 Friday night and has averaged 17:36 of ice time in his three playoff appearances.

The Blues pounded away at the Blackhawks once again and were credited with 54 hits. The Hawks recorded only 17 hits but the disparity doesn’t mean too much.

The Blackhawks were the better team and had the puck more often. They got a first period lead and never trailed. Once again the Hawks played with confidence in overtime.

David Backes returned but the Blues captain looked to be less than 100 percent. To his credit, Backes played over 21 hard minutes and dished out a game high eight hits. Backes won only seven of 20 faceoffs and was a -2 on the night.

The Blues are well coached and they are determined so the Blackhawks can’t let their guard down. Seabrook will be back but the return of an important player doesn’t always lead to a win.

This series has taken a physical and mental toll on both clubs. St. Louis has thrown their weight around but that not only wears are on the Hawks. Dishing out physicality can also drain the club doing the hitting.

This has been a great series in many ways, and the Hawks will be looking to not return to St. Louis for Game 7.

Al’s Shots

In the first round of the playoffs last season the Blues took a 2-0 lead versus the Kings. Los Angeles then rallied and eliminated St. Louis by winning four straight.

With the Game 5 loss the Blues are in position for the same thing to happen, but the comparisons up until now are scary. Somewhere in the Blues psyche the memory of losing four straight has surfaced.

The eerie comparison below came by way of a tweet from Comcast Chicago’s Nina Falcone of an article by Charlie Roumeliotis of CSN Chicago.com.

2013 Round 1 Blues vs. Kings

Game 1: Alex Steen scores game-winning goal in OT.
Game 2: Barret Jackman scores game-winning goal.
Game 3: Blues outshot Kings by nine, and got shutout.
Game 4. Blues blow late 3-2 lead, lose 4-3.
Game 5: Alex Pietrangelo scores game-tying goal (his first of the playoffs, assisted by Jaden Schwartz), Blues lose 3-2 in OT.
Game 6: Blues lose 2-1, eliminated from playoffs.

2014 Round 1 Blues vs. Blackhawks

Game 1: Steen scores game-winning goal in OT.
Game 2: Jackman scores game-winning goal.
Game 3: Blues outshot Blackhawks by nine, and got shutout.
Game 4: Blues blow late 3-2 lead, lose 4-3.
Game 5: Pietrangelo scores game-tying goal (his first of the playoffs, assisted by Schwartz), Blues lose 3-2 in OT.

Game 6: ???

No need to say anymore except Blackhawk fans will be hoping the pattern holds true for Game 6.

I will be back on Monday morning and you can follow me on Twitter @Al Cimaglia

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