Many called the Western Conference quarterfinal series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks the marquee matchup of the Stanley Cup playoffs so far. Through one game, that prediction is looking pretty accurate.
The Central Division rivals needed more than 100 minutes of hockey to decide their playoff opener Thursday night — one of three postseason games already that has required overtime.
The bulk of the scoring in this one came early, with the Blues and Blackhawks combining for five first-period goals. But after Patrick Kane absolutely froze St. Louis goalie Ryan Miller to give Chicago a one-goal lead late in the frame, the defenses finally woke up.
The teams played nearly 40 minutes of scoreless hockey before Blues winger Jaden Schwartz tied it up with less than two minutes to play in the third.
Schwartz’s tally was followed by yet another seemingly endless scoring drought, as neither team was able to light the lamp in either of the first two extra sessions.
Blues winger Alexander Steen finally sent the St. Louis faithful home happy when he beat Corey Crawford 26 seconds into the third overtime. Steen’s goal capped a 4-3 win for the Blues in a game that took four hours and 26 minutes to complete.
The Blues and Blackhawks will play Game 2 on Saturday afternoon in St. Louis.