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Kane's OT goal helps 'Hawks even series with Blues

By By The Sports Xchange
Published On: Apr 24 2014 12:55:44 AM CDT
Updated On: Apr 24 2014 01:03:45 AM CDT
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CHICAGO -

Wednesday's Game 4 of the first round Western Conference playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks was not over until forward Patrick Kane emphatically said it was over.

Kane's second goal of the night and third of the series at 11:17 of overtime was the game-winning score, lifting Chicago to a 4-3 victory at the United Center, evening the best-of-seven series at two games apiece.

Both teams have won two games at home in the series. Coupled with Monday's 2-0 shutout of St. Louis, the Blackhawks now have a two-game winning streak heading into what is now a best-of-three series.

"I thought we got a little bit more comfortable as the game progressed," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "But you can't say enough about how competitive it's been for four games: the battles, the resiliency and the will.

"It was a huge win for us and it got us back to even. We've got the momentum. Let's go in there and look to sustain it."

It was the third overtime game in the first four meetings of series and guarantees at least a six-game series now. Had Chicago lost, the Blues could have wrapped things up at home on Friday in Game 5.

Instead, the series will return to Chicago for a Game 6 afternoon matinee on Sunday. If necessary, Game 7 would be played Tuesday in St. Louis.

"There's no surprise, you're playing the Stanley Cup champions," said St. Louis forward Maxim Lapierre, who scored one of the Blues' goals. "Obviously you're going to have a tight battle.

"You're not going to just take the wins and go home. It's fun. You want to be part of that. It's a tight series and it's physical. Three overtimes. It's fun to be part of."

Even worse for St. Louis, the Blues are now 4-8-0 in April (regular season and playoff games), while Chicago is 6-4-0 in the month, including a 3-2 record solely against the Blues.

Chicago looked like it was en route to an easy win Wednesday, taking a 2-0 lead in the second period. But St. Louis rallied to tie the score with two goals just 65 seconds apart in the final 69 seconds of the same period.

The teams exchanged goals in the third period, setting up Kane's winner in overtime.

"Where the game was lost was when we took it over and were up 3-2 and we missed those four chances," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We could've been up 4- or 5-2.

"(We) left it out there and got caught in our zone. Then in the overtime, we had chances to shoot the puck three times in the zone and didn't put it on the net -- (his players) wanted to stick handle it one more time."

Chicago goalie Corey Crawford stopped 30 of St. Louis' 33 shots and St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller stopped 30 of Chicago's 34 shots.

"It's a hard-fought game right now," Crawford said. "Both teams are playing well. Our top guys -- top guys on both sides -- are really bringing it and bringing their best, so it's going to be a fun next game."

After a scoreless first period, Chicago scored twice in the second period. Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw juggled the puck on his stick and then flicked a quick wrist shot past Miller to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at 8:40.

Chicago made it 2-0 at 16:09 when defenseman Johnny Oduya skated up the left side of the ice and sent a cross-ice pass through the Blues' goal crease, right to the waiting stick of Kane, who flicked a wrist shot above Miller's left shoulder for the goal.

Kane also figured in St. Louis' first goal, having been sent to the penalty box at 18:44. Seven seconds later, the Blues avoided a second straight shutout when right winger Vladimir Tarasenko pushed a power-play slap shot past Crawford.

Tarasenko's goal seemed to invigorate the Blues as Lapierre scored 65 seconds later -- and with just four seconds remaining in the period -- to tie the score at 2.

Tarasenko scored his second goal of the game at 12:26 of the third period, giving the Blues a 3-2 lead.

Chicago rallied to tie at 16:08 when forward Bryan Bickell tipped in a shot from defenseman Michal Rozsival. It was Bickell's first goal of the playoffs.

NOTES: For the second straight game, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville started his two biggest stars on the first line, team captain C Jonathan Toews and RW Patrick Kane. Also starting on the first line: LW Bryan Bickell. ... The Blues were forced to scratch RW David Backes, injured in Game 2 by Blackhawks D Brent Seabrook, who still has one more game remaining on his three-game suspension for the high hit on Backes. ... Fans gave a big round of applause for former Blackhawks great and NHL Hall of Famer Tony Esposito, celebrating his 71st birthday at the United Center. ... Attendance was 22,123. ... Quenneville now has 90 career playoff wins, most among active NHL coaches. St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock was looking for his 75th playoff win, third most among active NHL coaches.

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