ST. LOUIS -- Forward Andrew Shaw scored a crucial but controversial goal late in the third period to help lift the Chicago Blackhawks to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Blues to even up their Western Conference first-round series 1-1.
How it happened: After a second period of compelling action, a controversial third period became all about instant replay and the coach’s challenge, sucking all momentum and flow from the game and angering Blues fans in the process. The Blues appeared to take a 2-1 lead in the third period when Jori Lehtera fed Vladimir Tarasenko for a goal but after a lengthy review, Lehtera was ruled offside on the rush. The call on the ice was overturned and the first controversial coach’s challenge of this series was made.
A few minutes later, another goal was called good on the ice when Andrew Shaw rammed one past Brian Elliott. After another lengthy review, this time a challenge for goalie interference, the goal stood and the Blackhawks grabbed their first lead of the series.
What it means: Mission accomplished for the Blackhawks. Their goal was to go into St. Louis and steal one of the games from the Blues. They certainly did it in dramatic fashion in Game 2. That they nearly stole both games by sending Game 1 into overtime bodes well for their chances as the series shifts back to Chicago on Sunday. The Blackhawks have historically gotten better as a series progresses with this group and a much stronger start to their postseason this year compared to last is an indication this group is on a mission.
It also means the mental toughness of this Blues team will be tested. They dropped a key game at home but the way it happened is going to be tough to overcome. They thought they had a lead and couldn’t get a call to go their way down the stretch. How they react in Game 3 could very well determine if they get past the reigning champs.