It took them an extra period—yet again—but the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks are one win away from advancing to the Western Conference semifinals, defeating the St. Louis Blues 3-2 in overtime on Friday night at the Scottrade Center.
With the victory, the Blackhawks snag a 3-2 lead in the series, in which four of the first five games have been decided in overtime, and will have a chance to close it out on Sunday in Chicago.
Jonathan Toews was the hero on Friday night, scoring the overtime winner on a breakaway with just over 12 minutes to play in the extra frame, beating Ryan Miller and sending the raucous crowd in St. Louis home deflated.
It was a bad St. Louis line change that gave him the space, and he took advantage of it.
Chicago jumped to the early lead in the first period. It’s first goal came from Marian Hossa, his first of the series, off his own rebound with just under four minutes remaining in the period.
St. Louis would tie it midway through the second on a ridiculous, highlight-reel goal from T.J. Oshie.
The Blues’ forward, already known for his heroics at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics while a member of Team USA, somehow beat Corey Crawford on a diving backhand from his knees to lift the crowd and get his team back in the game.
But the euphoria wouldn’t last long. After a stretch in which the Blues dominated the play, but couldn’t convert on several big chances, Ben Smith put Chicago back up with a top-shelf goal after Miller left a huge rebound near the front of the net.
But, it’s been a series of momentum swings, and the Blues came right back out in the third, tying it early on Alex Pietrangelo’s first goal of the series.
It would remain stuck at two goals apiece for the remainder of the third period, before Toews netted the overtime winner.
For the game, Chicago had a 30-29 edge in shots.
Crawford made 27 saves for the victory.
Miller also made 27 saves in the losing effort.
Game 6 will take place on Sunday in Chicago.