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Staying Alive: Blackhawks 4, Blues 3 (2OT)

No one can blame any Blackhawks fans for being a little doom-and-gloom after the dismal effort the team put forth in games 3 and 4 in this series. Two games that they should have had at home, and not only did they not have them, but they also melted down in spectacular fashion.

So you’ll forgive me for thinking this game was it.

I missed the first two periods of the game because I was playing my own hockey game. Usually, Playoffs FOMO hits me hard and I will go out of my way to do whatever I can to watch. (I mean, we still had a teammate’s kid yelling down score updates to us, though, it’s not like we were all completely in the dark about the game.) But I’d found a nice place of zen over the potential results of the game. Whatever happens, happens, right? Even though the game was still 0-0 midway through the second, before I left the rink to go home, I was okay with the fact that either the Hawks would live to die another day, or they go home to nurse their wounds and figure out how to regroup for the next season.

And then I checked my phone on the way home (at a stoplight, I promise!) and the Hawks were up 3-1.

So much for any chill, right?

Marian Hossa opened that scoring burst with his fiftieth career post-season goal, and it was the most Marian Hossa of goals — a shorthanded breakaway after a puck took a lucky bounce off the boards and went right to him, and no Blues player within reach, except for Alexander Steen, whose lackluster defense didn’t do much to challenge Hossa. The Blues got it right back within the next minute, still on the same power play, with a shot from Jaden Schwartz that sailed over Crawford’s glove.

Artem Anisimov tucked in a rebound of an Artemi Panarin shot that bounced off of Brian Elliott’s pads and skittered towards the goal line. And with less than a second left on the clock, Panarin’s quick release of a Patrick Kane pass landed in the back of the net to put the Hawks up 3-1.

Enjoy that one dominant period, though, because the Blackhawks went back on their heels for the third, and it showed, as they gave up fourteen shots and two goals in the third, seeing their lead evaporate.

Oh, yeah, and they did this, too:

Someday, someone is going to figure out why the Hawks have no concept of how to count, particularly in tense moments like these. This was the third of five games where the Hawks took a thoughtless late penalty. (Don’t forget Patrick Kane’s double minor in game three which led to the Blues’ winning goal, and the interference call against Andrew Shaw in game four which took away any hopes the Hawks had of being able to come back and tie that game.)

Miraculously, the penalty kill did its job, and it was on to overtime we go.

And go.

And go.

The Blues absolutely dominated the first overtime, pelting Corey Crawford with eleven shots, but Crow stood tall, robbing his opponents while his teammates looked too exhausted to contribute much to any effort in keeping the puck out of their own zone.

The Blackhawks got two shots in the second overtime, and they made them count.

Patrick Kane makes several Blues players look silly as he stickhandles around them, takes a shot on Elliott, then races around the back of the net to collect his own rebound and put it in. It was a glorious play, the kind we’re accustomed to seeing from Kane. He hasn’t looked quite himself during this series as the Blues have found ways to shut him down, but he managed to shake free at the best possible time.

So the season’s on the line all over again tonight. Andrew Shaw returns, post-suspension. The Blackhawks will be in an electric United Center, hoping that their season gets another game.

So, let’s do this. Let’s see if we can make magic happen again.

(Photo: Sarah Avampato)

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