After having their backs against the wall late in the third period on Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks rallied and tied the series 2-2 on Patrick Kane’s overtime goal. Now the series heads back to St. Louis where the Hawks have yet to win a game this season. Will things change?
The answer is yes. Why? Because the Blackhawks are simply the better and more experienced team that plays their best hockey in big moments in the playoffs. When the series starts to come down to wire, the Hawks know what it takes to get the job done. Dating back to the 2010 playoff run, the Hawks are 8-1 in Game 5’s and in15-3 in Games 5-7. In 2013, the Blues won the first two games of their series against the Los Angeles Kings and then went on to lose the next four.
Away from the stats, the Blackhawks have yet to play up to their caliber of hockey and still find themselves tied and could easily have been up 3-1 if Hawks close out the final seven seconds in game two. After missing the final month of the regular season with a knee injury, Kane has found his timing again and scored two huge goals in Game Four. On the Blues injury front, captain David Backes(upper body) did not skate on Thursday and will probably be a long shot to play in Game Five. St. Louis has not been the same team without Backes.
Riding momentum from two wins at home, a fast start in Game Five will be a big key to the game. Also, the Hawks will have to find a way to slow down Blues forward Vladamir Tarasenko. The 22 year old Russian has four goals through the first four games and has been the Blues main offensive weapon. If the Hawks do these two things, the will be coming home with a 3-2 series lead.
Prediction: Blackhawks win 4-2. After being held scoreless through the first four games, Hawks’ forward Patrick Sharp will find the back of the net twice in Game5. A win Friday night will set the Hawks up to close the series out on Sunday at home when they get Brent Seabrook back from his three game suspension.