AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
The St. Louis Blues only have to look back to last year’s playoffs, if they are feeling a sense of déjà vu.
In the 2013 playoffs, the Blues faced the Los Angeles Kings, the defending champions, in the first round. The Blues had home ice advantage and took a 2-0 series lead. The Kings then won the next three games to take a 3-2 series lead, and eventually won the series in six games.
This year the Blues are playing the Chicago Blackhawks, the defending champions, in the first round. The Blues again took a 2-0 series lead but the Blackhawks have won the last three games to take the 3-2 series lead. The Blackhawks have a chance to finish off the Blues in six games, just like the Kings did last season. The only difference this season is that Ryan Miller is in goal for the Blues and not Brian Elliott.
Those are just a few similarities between the two series. The Blues won game one against the Kings last year on a shorthanded goal by Alexander Steen in overtime and took the 1-0 series lead. Steen also scored the game winning goal against the Blackhawks. This time it was in the third overtime and again gave the Blues the 1-0 series lead.
In game two last season, Barrett Jackman scored a late goal against the Kings in regulation to give the Blues the 2-0 series lead. This season, Vladimir Tarasenko score with just 6.4 seconds left on a power play with the goalie pulled. Jackman scored in overtime to give the Blues a 2-0 series lead over the Blackhawks.
Jonathan Quick and the Kings got the 1-0 shutout in game three last year, while the Blackhawks and Corey Crawford got the 2-0 shutout this season in game three. In game three against the Kings, the Blues power play didn’t score despite four opportunities. In game three against the Blackhawks this year, the Blues power play had no goals in three chances.
The Kings came back and won game four in overtime by a score of 4-3 in the playoffs last year. This year Chicago also won game four by a score of 4-3 in overtime. The Blues have blown a 2-0 series lead the past two seasons. In the past two years, the series were tied at two games apiece going back to St. Louis for a pivotal game five.
In game five against the Kings, the Blues tied the game at two on a goal by Alex Pietrangelo. In overtime, Slava Voynov scored for the Kings and gave them the 3-2 series lead. In game five against the Blackhawks, Alex Pietrangelo score the game tying goal again to force overtime. This time Blackhawks captain, Jonathan Toews, scored the game winning goal to give the Blackhawks the 3-2 series lead.
The Kings went on to win the series against the Blues last season in six games. The Blackhawks have the series lead going back home and into game six.
Will history repeat itself for the Blues? They will have to wait until Sunday and game six to find out.