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Patrick Kane’s OT goal ties series for Blackhawks

Updated: April 24, 2014 1:13AM



The Blackhawks had all the momentum, all the control, and all reason to believe they were about to even their first-round series with the Blues.

And then they didn’t.

And then they did again.

Just another night in what’s turning into an epic first-round series.

The Hawks gave the Blues a taste of their own medicine Wednesday night, tying Game 3 late on a Bryan Bickell goal and winning it 4-3 on Patrick Kane’s overtime goal at 11:17 of the extra session. After being less than four minutes from being pushed to the brink of elimination, the Hawks have leveled the series at 2-2 with the series shifting back to St. Louis for Friday night’s Game 5.

“You can’t say enough about how competitive it’s been for four games,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “Huge win for us.”

Said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock: “Now I know how Joel feels. Tit for tat.”

Kane’s shot — from the left circle on a three-on-three rush that turned into something of a two-on-one, beating Ryan Miller on the stick side — was his second goal of the game, his third of the series, and the third overtime playoff winner of his career.

If there were any doubts about Kane’s health coming off a knee injury that sidelined him for a month, there probably aren’t anymore.

“Any time you score in overtime, it’s a great feeling,” Kane said. “It was disappointing, especially the first two games when you get to overtime and you’re not able to win it. So it was nice to win this one tonight. Any time you’re in on a goal like that, it’s a nice feeling.”

After all the talk about Kane and Jonathan Toews being reunited on the top line with Bickell, the Hawks seemed to get a boost when Quenneville split them apart again, putting Marian Hossa on the top line and putting Kane with Patrick Sharp and Ben Smith. Both lines dominated over the third period and overtime.

“We kind of got rid of Kaner on our line for a couple periods, and look at him — he’s making plays,” Bickell joked. And Hoss jumped in, we were paying great and we had some good looks and got that big-time [tying] goal.”

Said Kane: “That’s why Joel’s one of the best coaches in the world. He makes those little adjustments and they always seem to work.”

The first period couldn’t have gone much better for the Hawks — except for the fact that they didn’t score any goals. They utterly dominated the period, firing 30 shot attempts at the Blues goal, while St. Louis mustered just nine. But Miller stopped all the ones he saw, Sharp couldn’t elevate a shot over a prone Miller eight minutes in, and Bickell ripped a shot off the post 17 minutes in.

A couple of strong penalty kills gave the Hawks even more momentum early in the second period, and when Andrew Shaw backhanded in a Toews rebound for a power play goal — the Hawks’ first such goal in 15 attempts — at 8:40, the 22,123 fans in the United Center roared in delight for several minutes, even drowning out the announcement of the goal.

Kane made it 2-0 — the Hawks’ first two-goal lead of the series — at 16:09 of the second, chipping in a tremendous cross-ice pass from Johnny Oduya. The Hawks were rolling, the building was coming unglued, and the Blues were on their heels.

But if there’s one thing the Blues have shown in this series, it’s that they aren’t easily fazed.

With Kane in the box for a delay of game, Vladimir Tarasenko flipped a shot that found its way through Corey Crawford’s pads with 69 seconds left in the second period. Then, Maxim Lapierre scored with 3.1 seconds left, thanks to a diving play by Steve Ott to keep the play alive. The goals left the crowd stunned, but followed a disturbing trend for the series. Through four games in this series the Hawks have given up goals with 1:45, :02, :07, 1:09, and :04 left on the clock.

So after going 99 minutes without a goal, the Blues potted a pair in 65 seconds.

“It was big,” Blues forward Alex Steen said. “We were on them after [Tarasenko’s] goal on the power play and got a lot of life and got a good bounce on [Lapierre’s] goal. We came out in the third with a lot of push and played a good game.”

The Blues maintained the momentum into the third period, and finally got the go-ahead goal when Tarasenko’s wrist shot in transition hit the post and went in — another one Crawford likely will wish he could get back — at 12:27.

But this time, it was the Hawks’ turn to deliver a gut-punch goal, as Bickell redirected a Michal Rozsival shot past Ryan Miller with 3:52 left in regulation to tie it at 3-3 and sending the game to overtime for the third time in four games — where Kane played the hero.

The best-of-seven is now a best-of-three.

“We kind of have the momentum now, but we know it’s going to be a tough game in Game 5 in their building,” Kane said. “They’re going to be fired up, and that’s always a tough place to play — preseason, regular season or playoffs. We’ll expect them to get better, and we’ve got to get better, too.”

Email: mlazerus@suntimes.com

Twitter: @marklazerus



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