The Chicago Blackhawks did not want to go back to St. Louis for a Game 7 against the Blues, and after a nearly flawless Game 6 they made sure of it.
The Blackhawks finished off their playoff turnaround, winning their fourth straight game after starting the series with the Blues in a 2-0 hole. In Sunday’s 5-1 victory the Blackhawks pulled all the stops, getting to Ryan Miller early and finishing him off with a third-period barrage.
The clinching goals came in a quick burst in the third period, with Jonathan Toews scoring on the power play followed by a breakaway by Patrick Sharp and finally a tip-in from Andrew Shaw.
Just like that, it was over for Chicago and the once lofty hopes for the St. Louis Blues.
“They were dominating the first 40 minutes here and we came back with maybe the best period of the year,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
After the goal scoring frenzy, there was little the St. Louis Blues could do to respond.
“The third goal was really a backbreaker for us,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “That was really the one that hurt. We had been chasing them all series and able to catch up in games, but I thought the third goal really took the wind out of our sails.”
“It was one play here, one play there,” Blues captain David Backes added. “But it was on our stick and we needed to get the job done. We didn’t get it done and we’re going home too early.”
The loss now begins a long and uncertain offseason for the St. Louis Blues. The team went on a buying spree at the trade deadline, bringing in Ryan Miller and Steve Ott from the Buffalo Sabres. Miller is now set to become an unrestricted free agent, and while it is likely he could be back with the Blues there is no guarantee.
The Chicago Blackhawks are now on to the second round as they try to defend the 2013 Stanley Cup title.
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