St. Louis Blues (52-23-7) at Chicago Blackhawks (46-21-15)
|Date & Time||Wednesday April 23, 2014, 9:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Chicago Blackhawks -146 / St. Louis Blues +133 --- Over/Under: 5
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The Blackhawks look to even the score with another victory on home ice while the Blues look to take charge and head back home with the series in their grasp.
The St. Louis Blues suffered their first defeat of the 2014 playoffs on Monday night in Chicago as the Hawks played a more defensive style of game and escaped with a 2-0 shutout victory that pulled the series within a game. The Blues were fortunate to leave St. Louis with a 2-0 series lead as they found themselves down and out in both of those contests and score a late tying goal to force overtime and ultimately claimed each contest in the extra session. The bottom line for St. Louis is that they were playing very poorly heading into the playoffs, responded with a couple of inspiring efforts late in the third period to claim two victories, and are now a loss away from having the series back on even terms without the services of one of their best players in David Backes. Ryan Miller was supposed to be the saviour of this team and push them over the edge as Cup contenders and while he has shown signs of brilliance, especially in game one he hasn’t stolen any games for the Blues as they thought he might.
The Blackhawks played very well in games one and two and ended up on the losing end of both games and then played mediocre at best in game three and came away victorious which is sometimes the case in the playoffs as teams take time to feel each other out. Chicago is a very well rounded team that can beat you at both ends of the rink and while Corey Crawford often gets pushed aside when talking about the best goalies in the league he showed on Monday that he can swim with the sharks and come away alive. The Hawks need this one as they don’t want to head back to St. Louis down 3-1 and while the David Backes incident was an ugly one and now the Hawks are without Brent Seabrook because of it I think Chicago is in a better position than the Blues as the Hawks are very deep defensively and Backes is one of St. Louis’ best players. All of the games in this series so far have been close but as I said, the Hawks could very well be up 3-0 in this series and I expect a full on breakout in this one as Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp take over. Hawks in a romp.