Blues and Blue Jackets grab overtime Game 2 wins
Chicago Blackhawks' goalie Corey Crawford, right, makes a glove-save against St. Louis Blues' David Backes (42) during the second period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues' T.J. Oshie (74) and Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Sharp (10) reach for the puck during the second period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues' Alex Pietrangelo (27) and Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews (19) battle for the puck during the first period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues' Alexander Steen warms up prior to Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series against the Chicago Blackhawks, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa (81), of Sweden, and St. Louis Blues' Jay Bouwmeester (19) reach for a loose puck during the first period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues' Jay Bouwmeester, left, and Chicago Blackhawks' Jonathan Toews, right, battle for the puck during the first period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series on Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues' David Backes (42) is helped off the ice by a Blues trainer against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues' Vladimir Tarasenko (91), of Russia, celebrates with teammate Alexander Steen (20) after his game-tying goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during the third period in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues surround teammate Barret Jackman, center, after his game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during overtime in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
St. Louis Blues' Barret Jackman (5) is congratulated by teammates Adam Cracknell, right, and Roman Polak (46), of the Czech Republic, after his game-winning goal against the Chicago Blackhawks during overtime in Game 2 of a first-round NHL hockey playoff series, Saturday, April 19, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Bill Boyce)
Matt Bonner warms up before the San Antonio Spurs face off against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden; November 21, 2012.
Vladimir Tarasenko and St. Louis were in trouble Saturday before a vicious hit by Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook provided an opening for the Blues.
That little crack was all St. Louis needed to put another dent in the Blackhawks’ bid for a second straight Stanley Cup title.
Seabrook’s blow to the head of David Backes led to a 6-on-4 power play for St. Louis that ended with Tarasenko’s tying goal with 6.4 seconds left in regulation, and low-scoring defenseman Barret Jackman ended the game with a drive through traffic, giving the Blues their second straight 4-3 overtime victory over the Blackhawks and a 2-0 series lead.
“Those seeing-eye shots, I couldn’t believe it went in,” Blues Coach Ken Hitchcock said.
St. Louis took the opener in triple-overtime and fought off a Chicago rally in a game that began less than 39 hours later. Game 3 is tomorrow night in Chicago.
Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford tossed his equipment around in the locker room before meeting with reporters. He said he was screened a bit on the game-winner, adding, “I had my pads together, but there was a little space there and it just kind of squeezed through.”
Addressing the tying goal, Crawford said: “It’s frustrating, but whatever. I’m not going to cry about it. We’ve just got to work harder.”
Jackman is the longest-tenured Blues player in a career dating to 2002, and totaled three goals and 15 points in the regular season. He has two career playoff goals, both in overtime and both giving the Blues a 2-0 series lead, also stunning the Kings in the first round in 2012 – although the Kings recovered to take four straight.
“We were taking some big hits and kept our composure,” Jackman said. “And in the end, one squeaks in.”
St. Louis rallied after Seabrook received a five-minute major and game misconduct penalty for his hit on Backes that could lead to a suspension for one of Chicago’s top defensemen. The Blues captain had to be helped off the ice, went straight to the locker room and did not return for the extra period.
“I have no thoughts on the hit, that’s up the league,” Hitchcock said. “How do you think he is? Not great. Let the league deal with it.”
Seabrook said he wasn’t trying to hurt Backes.
“I feel bad seeing a guy like that on the ice,” Seabrook said. “I’ve been there myself. I wasn’t trying to target his head or do anything like that.”
Blackhawks Coach Joel Quennevillle didn’t want to comment on the hit until he had taken a closer look. At the time, he was worried about the game situation.
“We’re almost through it and I was like ‘Oh, my God,’ ” Quenneville said. “I was more worried about killing the major.”
Instead of retaliating, the Blues stuck up for Backes by sticking to the game plan.
Shattenkirk said repercussions from the hit are “not for us to focus on.”
“We really have to keep just pushing forward,” he added. “Whatever happens, just keep a positive mindset, a clear mind.”
Tarasenko’s second goal of the series was a wrist shot that banged off the right post and in. Kevin Shattenkirk had a goal and two assists for the Blues, who also got a goal from Chris Porter.
Duncan Keith, Seabrook and Michael Rozsival scored in a span of five shots to put the Blackhawks up 3-2 early in the third. But Seabrook’s penalty proved costly and the Blackhawks got no help from a power play that went 0 for 4 and is 0 for 9 since Seabrook scored on their first chance in Game 1.
Tarasenko made the most of the Blues’ 6-on-4 advantage after pulling goalie Ryan Miller.
Keith’s goal late in the second ended a scoring drought of 119 minutes and 27 seconds for Chicago since a three-goal first period in Game 1. Before Chicago’s rally, Miller stopped 53 consecutive shots.
A Blues checking forward started the scoring for the second straight game. Porter had one assist in 22 regular-season games.
St. Louis made playing to the whistle pay off, capitalizing on a late flurry when Shattenkirk’s slap shot from just inside the blue line beat an out-of-position Crawford with 1.8 seconds to go in the first.
Blue Jackets 4, Penguins 3, 2OT
Matt Calvert banged home a rebound 1:10 into the second overtime and the Columbus Blue Jackets earned the first playoff victory in franchise history with a win over the Pittsburgh Penguins last night.
Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury stuffed the initial shot by Cam Atkinson but Calvert stood all alone at the left post and wristed a shot into the open net to even the Eastern Conference quarterfinals at one game each.
Game 3 is tomorrow in Columbus.
Jack Johnson tied the game with 6:01 left in regulation for the Blue Jackets. Ryan Johansen also scored the first playoff goal of his career for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky overcame a shaky start to finish with 39 saves.
Brian Gibbons scored twice and Matt Niskanen added his second goal of the playoffs but Pittsburgh was outplayed for much of the final three-plus periods. Fleury made 41 stops but was helpless on the game-winner.
The Penguins have dropped four straight home overtime playoff games and blew a chance to take a 2-0 series lead when they failed to bury the Blue Jackets early on.
Instead, Columbus weathered an opening storm and recovered to collect the team’s first playoff victory since the expansion team made its debut on Oct. 7, 2000 – 4,493 days ago.
The Blue Jackets were the better team for long stretches and kept Pittsburgh’s high-powered special teams in check. The Penguins went just 1 for 8 on the power play.
Both teams traded quality chances in the first overtime period. Bobrovsky made an excellent blocker save on Sidney Crosby racing down the right wing. Fleury stuffed R.J. Umberger from point blank range earlier in the period.
There was no back-and-forth in the second extra session. Brandon Dubinsky started the winning play by jabbing the puck at Fleury and Pittsburgh’s defense offered little resistance until the puck was on Calvert’s stick for the winner.
The Penguins knew they couldn’t afford a repeat of the first 21 minutes of Game 1, when the Blue Jackets knocked them around while streaking to a two-goal lead. Though Pittsburgh rallied to escape, the Penguins knew they were fortunate against a team making just its second playoff appearance in franchise history.
This time, Pittsburgh’s start wasn’t the problem. It was everything else.
Gibbons scored the first two playoff goals of his career 54 seconds apart – including a nifty short-handed breakaway in which he undressed Bobrovsky – to give the Penguins a 2-0 lead before the game was 5 minutes old. The giddiness didn’t last long, for the Penguins or Gibbons.
Johansen scored before the power play expired and Gibbons, elevated to Pittsburgh’s top line midway through Game 1, did not return after colliding with Johansen midway through the first period. While a Niskanen shot from the point with 2:08 left in the first restored Pittsburgh’s two-goal edge, it only seemed to galvanize the Blue Jackets.
Pittsburgh appeared primed to push the lead to three when Columbus forward Blake Comeau gift-wrapped a power play for the Penguins by tackling defenseman Paul Martin right in front of the referee a good 50 feet behind the play.
Instead, it brought Columbus to life. Some lethargic Pittsburgh passing set up a 3-on-1 short-handed breakaway for the Blue Jackets, with Calvert beating Fleury to bring Columbus within one. The disjointed effort by the Penguins deflated the bench and the building. Only stellar play by Fleury over the final 10 minutes of the second period kept Pittsburgh in front.
The wave carried over into the third, with Columbus eventually drawing even on Johnson’s power-play goal with 6 minutes to go.