Blues score twice more in waning moments of period
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter April 23, 2014 11:18PM
Updated: April 24, 2014 11:44AM
It has become a disturbingly familiar scene for the Blackhawks in the postseason: the walk of shame into the locker room after allowing a late-period goal.
It happened not once, but twice in the second period of Game 4 against the Blues on Wednesday night, forcing the Hawks to go to overtime for a 4-3 victory that evened the series 2-2 heading back to St. Louis for Game 5 on Friday night at Scottrade Center.
The Hawks created their own degree-of-difficulty in this one. Leading 2-0 late in the second period after a greasy goal by Andrew Shaw in front of the net and picture-perfect one on Johnny Oduya’s pinpoint cross-ice pass to Patrick Kane, the Hawks allowed two goals in the final 69 seconds of the period to go into intermission with a 2-2 tie.
‘’That’s one point of the game you never want to get scored on is the end of periods,’’ Hawks goaltender Corey Crawford said. ‘’Those are important shifts. I think maybe we’ve been scored on a little too much at the end of periods. We’ve got to clean that up if we want to win this series.’’
The Blues’ determination certainly played a part in both goals, but it’s unlikely they could have pulled off the unlikely rally without the Blackhawks’ help.
With 1:16 left in the first period and the Hawks leading 2-0, Kane was penalized for delay of game when he inadvertently lifted the puck over the glass.
It took the Blues seven seconds to score, with Vladimir Sobotka winning a faceoff from Michal Handzus and Tarasenko firing a 40-foot wrist shot past Corey Crawford to cut the Hawks’ lead to 2-1 with 1:09 left in the period.
‘’It was an unlucky play I think that we got the penalty,’’ Crawford said. ‘’It just kind of flipped up [over the glass]. that’s a guy [Kane] who makes plays all over the ice and it was just unfortunate that [the puck] went over.’’
The Hawks wilted further in the final seconds. After the Blues attacked the Hawks’ zone, Patrick Sharp was unable to clear and Maxim Lapierre fired a wrist shot from the right faceoff circle that went off Crawford’s glove and into the net with 3.1 seconds left to tie the game.
‘’It was tough to give up two right at the end of the period,’’ Crawford said. “Especially the second one — unbelievable bounce. It was pretty brutal to get that bounce, for it to go in. But our guys stayed strong.’’
It was the third time in four games of this series that the Hawks have allowed a goal in the final two minutes, and they’ve all been costly.
In Game 1, Jaden Schwartz scored with 1:45 left in regulation for a 3-3 tie that turned into a 4-3 Blues overtime victory.
In Game 2, Kevin Shattenkirk scored with less than two seconds left in the first period to give the Blues a 2-0 lead. The Hawks rallied to take a 3-2 lead in teh third period — only to allow Vladimir Tarasenko’s power-play goal with 6.4 seconds left in regulation. The Blues won 4-3 in overtime.
With the two late-period goals Wednesday night in Game 4, five of the nine goals the Blues have scored in regulation in this series have come in the final 1:45 of a period. The only time they did not score late in a period, the Hawks won.
‘’Up 2-0 we felt comfortable and we can’t do that,’’ forward Bryan Bickell said. ‘’They’re a skilled team. They’ve been an elite team all year in the regular season. We’re happy to get the win.’’
Preventing more late-period goals figures to be an emphasis. But first the Hawks have to figure out what’s going wrong.
‘’I don’t know. I wish I had a pinpoint answer for that one,’’ Bickell said. ‘’But they’re never stopping between whistles. Until that buzzer goes, they’re never stopping. I don’t know why we look at the clock. We should just play it like it’s the start of the period and be ready. But they’re getting a couple of bounces — one off the post, one off Crow. What can you do? We’re just hoping they have no more.’’