Duncan Keith had a goal and 3 assists as the Chicago Blackhawks exploded for 4 third period goals to defeat the St. Louis Blues 5-1 and advance to the second round after a 6 game series win.
That is when Chicago asserted their dominance, with captain Jonathan Toews scoring 44 seconds in and then Patrick Sharp giving the Hawks a 2 goal cushion at 2:01 of the third. Chicago continued to carry the play even with the lead, and continued to roll. Andrew Shaw tipped in a Keith point shot before the 8 minute mark and then Keith wrapped it up with a goal of his own with less than 3 minutes left to kill any chances of a remarkable comeback.
This was the second playoff season in a row where the Blues got out to a 2-0 series lead and then lost 4 straight games to get eliminated. The acquisition of Ryan Miller did little to change the Blues’ chances and the seven game losing streak at end the season to fall out of first place and get the matchup against the Blackhawks instead of the Wild was indeed devastating.
The Blues went 0-for-6 on the power play in the first two periods where a goal or two would have likely changed the outcome, so they pretty much shot themselves in the foot.
For the Hawks, after two games it looked like the amount of hockey they had played in the last year seemed to be catching up to them, but now they are on a roll and look every bit like a team capable of defending their championship.
The Hawks await the winner of the Colorado – Minnesota series while the Blues will have plenty of questions to answer as the off-season begins for them.