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Patrick Sharp’s goal proved to be ‘back-breaker’ for Blues

Updated: April 27, 2014 11:24PM

After Patrick Sharp failed to score on his first 40 shot attempts against the Blues, his first goal of the postseason wasn’t much of a shot at all. But what a goal.

Sharp blocked a shot at his own blue line to spring himself for a breakaway that turned into a highlight-reel goal when he shook off a hook to the face by Kevin Shattenkirk and somehow pushed the puck on the fly past goalie Ryan Miller for a 3-1 Hawks lead with 17:59 left in regulation.

‘‘I knew there was a penalty,’’ Sharp said. ‘‘I talked to the ref, and he said he was calling a penalty shot, so that would have been pretty fun as well. [But] when you have the puck that close to the net, you want to do whatever you can to put it in.’’

Sharp’s goal came 77 seconds after Jonathan Toews broke a 1-1 tie with a power-play goal.

‘‘The goal was a back-breaker,’’ Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. ‘‘To play as well as we’ve ever played in this building . . . and then [Sharp’s] goal — the air went right out of the bench.’’

Sharp led the Hawks with 34 goals in the regular season but had zero points in the first five playoff games.

‘‘It was a good time to get one. It put us up by two,’’ Sharp said. ‘‘It’s frustrating. I’ve been through stretches like that before as the guy that’s supposed to score goals. You just have to keep shooting, keep skating and doing the right things to help your team.’’

Versteeg, Nordstrom swap

Coach Joel Quenneville benched forward Kris Versteeg for Game 6 in favor of Joakim Nordstrom. Versteeg had no goals and two assists in the first five games. Nordstrom only played 2:07 on the virtually non-existent fourth line.

‘‘Steeger has some options that you don’t mind having in our lineup,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘We have Nordy involved and got a taste of it. We’ll see how we progress with it.’’

The closers

The Hawks lived up to their history under Quenneville as a team that picks up steam in each playoff series. With four consecutive wins against the Blues after falling behind 0-2, the Hawks are 16-17 (.485) in Games 1-3 of the postseason since 2010 and 25-6 (.806) in Games 4-7.

Mr. Clutch

With the tie-breaking goal in the third period, Toews has scored 18 points (seven goals, 12 assists) in 13 potential series-clinching games with the Hawks. The Hawks are 11-2 in those games.


Twitter: @MarkPotash

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