There was certainly no fault if you believed that you were in a time machine the past ten days while watching the Blackhawks and Blues duel in the first round of the playoffs.
Both teams felt a sense of déjà vu during this series.
For the second year in a row, the Blues raced out a 2-0 lead in the first round by winning their first two games at home. For the second year in a row, the Blues lost four straight to lose 4-2 in the first round.
It gets even more eerily similar for the Blues. Alexander Steen scored the OT game winner in Game 1 both years. Barret Jackman scored the game winner in Game 2 in both series. Both series the Blues were shutout in Game 3.
Game 4 the Blues lost 4-3 both years and had a player score two goals. Oshie scored two goals against the Kings last year and Tarasenko scored two against the Blackhawks. Kevin Shattenkirk had one assist in both games. Both years in Game 5, the Blues lost 3-2 in overtime and Alex Pietrangelo scored the game tying goal. Then in Game 6 the Blues managed to score one goal just like last year when they completed the collapse to the Kings.
But it wasn’t just a series that was eerily similar to the Blues as the Blackhawks went through their own trip back in time.
Two years ago the Blackhawks played the Phoenix Coyotes in a historic first round series. In that series the Blackhawks and Coyotes went to overtime in the first five games. The Blackhawks lost that series in 6 games as the Coyotes took advantage of a soft performance by Corey Crawford. Both times Jonathan Toews was returning from a major injury and missed the end of the regular season.
But with four of the first five games going to overtime, the Blackhawks must have felt they were back in 2012. Game 2 was exactly like Game 2 two years ago just with a different result. Andrew Shaw was ejected in Game 2 for running over Mike Smith similar to Brent Seabrook being ejected for laying out David Backes. Both times a goal was scored on the ensuing 5 minute major.
In 2012, the Blackhawks tied the game up with 5.5 seconds remaining on a goal by Patrick Sharp and then won it in overtime. This year it was a different result as Vladimir Tarasenko scored with 6.4 seconds remaining. Then the Blues won it in overtime.
Game 5 was clutch time for the captain. In both series, Toews scored the game winner in Game 5 in overtime on the road. The series ended in 6 games both times with a blowout win that got out of hand in the third period as the losing team ran out of gas. The Coyotes scored 3 goals in the third period of their 4-0 series clinching win two years ago including one early in the third and then two goals midway through the period 1:52 apart. Against the Blues in Game 6 this year, the Blackhawks scored 4 goals in the third to give them a 4 goal margin of victory and they scored two goals 1:17 apart in the first 2:01 of the period.
Both the Blackhawks and Blues played series exactly like ones they played in years past. The Blackhawks were able to buck history and come out on top this time around. But after all of the overtime games and close finishes, both teams will most likely want to destroy any time machines they come across.