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Toews scores OT winner to give Blackhawks 3-2 series lead

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Recap

The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime on Friday evening to take a 3-2 series lead in their best of seven series. The two teams head back to Chicago for Game 6 on Sunday afternoon.

In what has become a classic series, these two teams again produced another classic. David Backes returned to the lineup for the first time since Game 2 when he was knocked out by an elbow form Brent Seabrook. Backes came out early and was a wrecking ball racking up a team high 8 hits. But the Blackhawks would strike first on the scoreboard when Marian Hossa put home his own rebound past Ryan Miller at 16:11 of the first period to give the Blackhawks a 1-0 lead at the end of the first period.

The second period would see the Blues turn up the pressure. They would be rewarded when Alexander Steen found T.J. Oshie in the slot. Oshie undressed Niklas Hjalmarsson before falling to the ice. From a diving position, Oshie slid the puck underneath Corey Crawford at 11:04 to tie the game. The punch for punch fight continued as the Blackhawks retook the lead when Ben Smith beat Miller with a backhander at 17:10 to give the Blackhawks the lead after two periods.

If you thought the counterpunching was over you were wrong. The Blues struck early on a four on four on a 2 on 1 rush after a Nick Leddy shot caromed off the boards. Jaden Schwartz fed a beautiful saucer pass over the stick of Hjalmarsson to Alex Pietrangelo who buried a shot past Crawford at 1:42 of the third period as the Blackhawks blew a lead for the fourth time in this series. From there the game became a battle between Crawford and Miller. Crawford stopped Oshie on a 3 on 1 midway through the period. Not to be outdone, Miller saved a Patrick Kane one timer late in the game to send the game to overtime for the fourth time in this series.

Overtime was a wild affair as both teams had golden scoring chances. Crawford stopped Barret Jackman point blank. Shortly after Crawford came up with another big save and kicked out a rebound to the front of the net. Duncan Keith threw a clearing attempt out of the zone through the middle of the neutral zone to Jonathan Toews who had come off of a change and was all alone behind the defense. Toews took the puck and made a nifty forehand to backhand move beating a sprawling Miller at 7:36 of overtime for the game winner.

What it means

After trailing the series 2-0, the Blackhawks head home for Game 6 with a chance to wrap up the series. The Blackhawks have won two games in overtime this series and will see Brent Seabrook return to the lineup for Game 6. This is the 8th consecutive victory in a Game 5 for the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks won for the first time in St. Louis this season.

3 stars of the game

3. T.J. Oshie- Oshie had a very strong game. He scored his first goal of the series and had several other great chances. Oshie had one goal with three shots on goal and was a minus one.

2. Corey Crawford- Since Game 2, Crawford has been really good for the Blackhawks. He was good again tonight coming up big when the game was tied late. Crawford didn’t have much of a chance on the two goals that he gave up with two stellar efforts by the Blues. Crawford made 27 saves on 29 shots.

1. Jonathan Toews- The captain came up big in the clutch. He had just come out on the ice on a line change which allowed him to be behind the Blues who were making a change as well. Toews had one goal and was a plus one. In addition, Toews made 2 blocked shots including a huge block at the end of regulation to prevent a point blank chance on Crawford. Toews was good in the faceoff circle as well winning 15 of 25 faceoffs.

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