Another game, another third period disappointment.
After going up 2-0 on the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, the Blues squabbled yet another third period lead to lose in overtime.
Both goalies played brilliant as Marty Turco made 32 saves, while Jaroslav Halak made 30 saves on the night.
You could dispute that the best save for Halak came about halfway through the first, but why would you? After Blues defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo was shoved into Halak by Blackhawks forward Fernando Pisani, the two skaters fell in the crease. Sprawled on his knees with traffic everywhere around him, Halak grabbed a shot from midair after the puck found its way to Duncan Keith at the point, who one-timed a shot right on net. Halak was able to cover up to get the whistle. This play made Blues fans realize why even the Oilers don’t want Pisani anymore.But the Blues didn’t just get good saves in this game; they also got luck on offense. In the middle of the second, David Perron received a pass from Alex Pietrangelo at the blue line and skated it in on the wing and stuffed it past Turco for the first goal of the game. It wasn’t pretty but it got the job done.
“I saw his five-hole and it wasn’t closed so I tried it there and it went in,” Perron said between periods. “I kind of got a little bit lucky but I’ll take it.”
Turco turned around and made a big breakaway save on Perron on the very same shift, but the Blues did not stop pressing. After a few great chances after their goal, the Blues peppered Turco with ten shots on the period. The Blackhawks put 11 on Halak, but he stood tall and stopped them all to post no goals-against through two periods.
The Blues picked up the scoring in the third period, when Perron found gold again. He made a beautiful pass to teammate T.J. Oshie who skated in with Perron and David Backes on a three-on-one. Oshie slid it to Perron in front who one-timed it past a helpless Turco. It was Perron’s second goal of the night. After the goal was scored, Backes collided with Oshie, limping off the ice to create a scary moment for Blues fans. He would later return to the lineup after a short check-up in the locker room. St. Louis breathed a sigh of relief but it didn’t last long.
The Blackhawks would take control to start the crumbling of the Blues’ wall. After a questionable interference call on Halak in which a Blackhawks player’s stick got stuck in the goaltender’s glove, the Blackhawks took to the power-play. On a very broken play, Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook received the puck at the point and threw it to the net. Marian Hossa found it in front and tucked it past a sliding Jaroslav Halak to make the game 2-1 with just minutes left on the clock.
But Hossa wasn’t done there.
After a huge scramble in front, the Blues collapsed in front of Halak and the Hawks capitalized. Hossa found it in front and slid it past Oshie, who was inside his goaltender’s crease with just 4:17 left in the third.
After a Blackhawk-dominated third period, the Blues came out with fire in the start of overtime. But the Blues discovered it only takes one shot to win.
With 1:10 left, Patrick Kane skated around the net untouched and slid it in front to a wide-open Patrick Sharp for the 3-2 overtime victory. It was Sharp’s third game-winner of the season that made the Blues’ team defense look foolish.
“It’s something that we don’t want to do and we gave up a two-goal lead,” Perron added after the game. “It’s obviously frustrating but we’ve got to learn our lesson and move forward.”
The coaching staff did not seem too pleased either.
“We realize we have to play 60 minute games. We realize we have to finish the job, “ assistant coach Brad Shaw said, “we’re up 2-0 and we had some great chances to make it three [to nothing] and we don’t put them away and we paid dearly tonight.”
The Blues will have a chance for revenge in their very next game, when they travel home to St. Louis to take on the Blackhawks at Scottrade Center Friday night at 7:00 pm. Friday’s game is the first one of back-to-back matches, as Saturday night they will return to the ice to play the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins, also at 7:00 pm.