The Chicago Blackhawks can never be counted out of the Stanley Cup playoffs. However, the Blackhawks had a far more upsetting start to these Stanley Cup playoffs than usual, with two straight blown leads and overtime losses to the St. Louis Blues on the road. But on April 23, it was Chicago's turn to give St. Louis some heartbreak and draw even with a 4-3 overtime win of its own.
After shutting out the Blues in Game 3, the Blackhawks kept the momentum going to start Game 4 with a 2-0 lead. Yet after Patrick Kane gave Chicago a two-goal lead with under four minutes left in the second period, St. Louis drew even by intermission with tallies from Vladimir Tarasenko and Maxim Lapierre.
Lapierre's goal with four seconds left in the second held things even, until Tarasenko got his second goal with 7:34 left. That was all the time the Blackhawks had to save the game and likely save their season. But Chicago only needed half that time, as Bryan Bickell got Game 4 locked up again with under four minutes left.
The Blackhawks and Blues provided the first big showcase of the Stanley Cup playoffs with a triple-overtime Game 1. Only one overtime was necessary for Game 4, as it was also the first one of the series to favor Chicago. It was Kane -- no stranger to overtime goals in the playoffs -- who ended things on a wrist shot, minutes after hitting a shot off the crossbar.
The eventual winner wrapped up the fourth straight win for a home team in this series, and third in overtime. Yet both teams now have two victories in this series, as the Blues' momentum from their first two home wins was washed away. It is a familiar story for St. Louis, since it took a 2-0 lead at home against the Los Angeles Kings in the first round last year, but then lost four straight.
The Blackhawks are only halfway towards finishing another Stanley Cup playoff collapse for the Blues. But if St. Louis becomes the first home team to lose in Game 5, it may become too big of a hole -- despite the bigger one Chicago just climbed out of.
No matter what, either the Blackhawks or Blues will be pushed to the brink in Game 5 on April 25.