The Chicago Blackhawks defended their home ice, and delivered the Blues their first loss of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, 2 to 0. Ryan Miller stopped 23 of 24 shots, and Corey Crawford stopped 34 of 34. While the Blues put the puck on net ten more times than the Hawks, they could not get anything passed Crawford.
St. Louis’ major downfall seamed to be their inability to capitalize on the power play, coupled with the five penalties in a row which they took midway through the game. The Blues were shorthanded for a majority of the second period, and they were zero for three on power play opportunities. In the Stanley Cup Playoffs teams need to be capitalizing on every chance they have, which means scoring on power plays. Power plays make or break teams in the playoffs and St. Louis needs to improve their power play and be scoring on fifty percent of their power play opportunities.
The Blues have a very solid penalty kill, so if they do find themselves in some penalty trouble, as they did on Monday, they can get out of it. They have a very physical and aggressive style of play which means that they are going to take some penalties every now and again, but their kill is solid and allows them to sustain with this style. The Blues killed off all five of Chicago’s power plays including a five on three opportunity which lasted for 30 seconds.
Chicago scored early in the first period, when Jonathan Toews shot the puck on net from the top of the circle and went five hole on Ryan Miller. Ryan Miller may have been screened by his own defenseman who was trying to angle Toews away from the net. No team was able to score again until 20 seconds remained in the game when Marcus Kruger sealed the win for the Blackhawks with an empty netter.
The Blues still lead this series 2 to 1, and will try to gain a commanding 3 to 1 series lead, and steal a game at the Madhouse, on Wednesday April 23, at 7:30 Central time. Get ready for game four of this Western Conference match up. The Blues can either increase their series lead making it very difficult for the Blackhawks, or the Hawks could tie the series up.