CHICAGO (AP) The St. Louis Blues kept pushing and pushing until a costly play by Patrick Kane provided an opening. And there was nothing for the Chicago Blackhawks to challenge.
Jaden Schwartz scored at 13:32 of the third period with Kane in the penalty box for high-sticking, and the Blues beat the Blackhawks 3-2 on Sunday for a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.
Patrik Berglund and rookie Colton Parayko also scored as St. Louis rallied after a difficult 3-2 loss in Game 2 that included two key coach’s challenges that went against the Blues – one of them wiping out a tiebreaking goal for Vladimir Tarasenko.
Brian Elliott made 44 saves Sunday, keeping St. Louis in the game during Chicago’s strong second period.
“No one said it was going to be a short series and even with them getting the win in Game 2, that didn’t affect us,” Schwartz said. “We came out and executed again today and we did a good job of that.”
It was Chicago’s first regulation loss when leading after two periods since Game 2 of the 2014 Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings. The Blackhawks had been 70-0-4 since the start of last season when they had the lead at the beginning of the third, according to STATS.
“That was a tough loss,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Let’s get back into it. But it was a pretty competitive game, kind of comparable to what we saw in the first two.”
Kane, the NHL’s leading scorer this season and one of the favorites for league MVP, got four minutes for a high stick on defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, and St. Louis made Chicago pay for the mistake.
“I’ve got to be smarter in that situation,” Kane said. “Obviously I can’t take a penalty at that time of the game, especially when the score’s 2-2. I take responsibility on that one.”
The Blackhawks pulled Crawford for an extra attacker with 1:10 remaining, but Elliott and the Blues held on. Game 4 is Tuesday night in Chicago.
“We’ve got home ice back again,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “To me, that’s the whole thing. We’ve got to find a way to keep it now.”
Brent Seabrook and Artem Anisimov scored for the Blackhawks, who dropped to 28-7 in home playoff games since the 2013 postseason. It was their first home playoff game since they hoisted the Stanley Cup at the United Center last June.
Anisimov’s fluttering shot past Elliott at 1:04 of the second put Chicago in front, and Crawford’s stellar play helped preserve the 2-1 lead for a while.
The sellout crowd of 22,207 responded with cheers of “Co-rey! Co-rey!” and then resumed the chants after the goaltender turned away Lehtera again and Tarasenko on a couple more prime opportunities. He finished with 33 saves.
“It’s tough. You lose momentum when you give up a power-play goal late,” Crawford said. “We did play well in this game. We have a lot of chances, had some good looks. It’s a tough one.”
Elliott had his own series of impressive stops on a Blackhawks power play in the second. He also caught a break whenAndrew Ladd‘s shot bounced off the left post and then the right one with about 6:20 to go.
Berglund tied it at 5:15 of the third when his shot from the middle of the ice went off the inside of Rozsival’s right leg and skipped over Crawford’s glove.
“It’s a lucky bounce, but you know we deserve some luck bounces, too, I think,” Berglund said.
NOTES: The Blackhawks outshot the Blues 24-13 in the second. … Blues C Steve Ott replaced Ryan Reaves in the lineup for his first game since Dec. 5. Ott had hamstring surgery and then was diagnosed with colitis. … Blackhawks F Dale Weise, who was acquired in a Feb. 26 trade with Montreal, got into the lineup for the first time in the series. F Richard Panik also was active, while Fs Andrew Desjardins and Brandon Mashinter were on the scratch list.