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Blues/Avalanche vs Blackhawks

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Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Ramsay: Blues must shut down Toews line

Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 7:28 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Craig Ramsay to break down the action. Ramsay will be checking in throughout the series.

Ramsay played in more than 1,000 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres before going on to coach the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. In the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led the Flyers to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Final. Ramsay was most recently an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.

The St. Louis Blues will have the last-change advantage as the home team in Game 5 of their Western Conference First Round series. Longtime NHL coach Craig Ramsay said it won't matter as long as Chicago Blackhawks forwards Bryan Bickell, Marian Hossa and Jonathan Toews continue to be as dominant as they were late in Game 4.
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Kane rounding into form for Blackhawks

Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 2:50 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- It was almost inevitable that Patrick Kane was going to need a few games to regain his elite level of play.

After missing the final month of the regular season with a lower-body injury after an opponent landed on his left leg during a game on March 19, Kane got back into the lineup in the opening game of the Chicago Blackhawks' Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues. He scored a breakaway goal near the end of the first period in that game at Scottrade Center, but didn't really look like himself.

But in Game 4 on Wednesday at United Center, Kane looked as dangerous as ever. He scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime of Chicago's 4-3 victory that knotted the best-of-7 series at 2-2. He also assisted on Andrew Shaw's goal that opened the scoring in the second period.

"I was out a month, so you're not going to come back [the same]," said Kane, who was moved off captain Jonathan Toews' top line early in the third period. "You can get all the rest you need, but you're not going to come back and have that game pace and timing that you had when you left, so it takes a little while. It's something I've never really dealt with too much throughout my career. I'm trying to do my best."

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Blues must refocus as series shifts back to St. Louis

Thursday, 04.24.2014 / 2:18 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- They came back from a two-goal deficit in a hostile environment. It was a chance for the St. Louis Blues to grab the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks by the throat and take a 3-1 lead in this Western Conference First Round series.

But the Blues saw their lead evaporate with 3:52 remaining on a Bryan Bickell goal before Patrick Kane sealed Chicago's 4-3 overtime victory in Game 4 Wednesday night.

Chicago's rally turned this Stanley Cup Playoff series into a best-of-3, starting with Game 5 on Friday at Scottrade Center (8 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS2, NBCSN, CSN-CH, FS-MW).

The Blues, down 2-0 late in the second period, got two goals in a 1:05 span from Vladimir Tarasenko and Maxim Lapierre to stun the Blackhawks and 22,123 on hand at United Center.

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Toews-Kane tandem comfortable fit for Blackhawks

Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 5:24 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Brian Hedger - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- Playing forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane together has become like pulling out a trusty, comfortable pair of slippers for Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville.

Their chemistry, developed over seven years together with the Blackhawks, allows Quenneville the freedom to tinker with his line combinations. He can seek more balance by putting them on different lines, but if that doesn't work he can always pull those slippers out anytime he wants.

"We're fortunate with the lineup that we have a lot of flexibility," Quenneville said Tuesday. "Sometimes, whether it's in a series or in games, sometimes we don't have that patience to wait around to see how it's going to work long-term."

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Ramsay: Blackhawks in good position to win series

Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 5:16 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

For additional insight into the Stanley Cup Playoff series between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks, NHL.com has enlisted the help of former NHL coach Craig Ramsay to break down the action. Ramsay will be checking in throughout the series.

Ramsay played in more than 1,000 NHL games with the Buffalo Sabres before going on to coach the Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers and Atlanta Thrashers. In the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs, he led the Flyers to the seventh game of the Eastern Conference Final. Ramsay was most recently an assistant coach with the Florida Panthers.

CHICAGO -- Craig Ramsay wouldn't be surprised if the Chicago Blackhawks pull even with the St. Louis Blues in Game 4 on Wednesday and go on to win the Western Conference First Round series despite losing the first two games.
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Blackhawks' Crawford answers his own challenge

Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 1:20 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Corey Crawford took it upon himself to say he needed to be better if the Chicago Blackhawks were going to mount a comeback against the St. Louis Blues after blowing leads and losing in overtime in Games 1 and 2.

"We're not going to win if I'm going to play like that," Crawford said Saturday in St. Louis after giving up four goals on 31 shots.

It was an honest self-evaluation and a personal challenge all wrapped up in one statement. It also earned him a rare sitdown with coach Joel Quenneville on Sunday.

Quenneville usually leaves all the goalie adjustments to goaltending coach Steve Weeks. He's the expert. He knows better how to deal with Crawford's potentially fragile state of mind after giving up the game-tying goal with 6.4 seconds left in regulation in Game 2 only to then give up the winner 5:50 into overtime.

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Blues focus on Blackhawks, not last season's exit

Tuesday, 04.22.2014 / 1:09 AM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Blues' course through the first three games of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs has an eerily similar feel to the path that resulted in their early postseason exit last season.

It was Game 3 of the 2013 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Los Angeles Kings. The Blues, who held a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 series against the Kings, carried the play and had the better chances in the game, but at the end of the day, St. Louis found itself with a 2-1 series lead instead of a commanding 3-0 lead.

Last season, they got game-winning goals from Alexander Steen and Barret Jackman to jump out to the 2-0 series lead on Los Angeles.

Fast-forward to the 2014 playoffs. The Blues jumped out to a 2-0 series lead on the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in their Western Conference First Round series on the strength of game-winners from -- you guessed it -- Steen and Jackman.

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Blues' Jackman has knack for timely playoff goals

Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 11:18 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Louie Korac - NHL.com Correspondent

ST. LOUIS -- Asked if his game-winning goal Saturday in the Western Conference First Round against the Chicago Blackhawks meant more than the one he scored against the Los Angeles Kings in the conference quarterfinals a year ago, St. Louis Blues defenseman Barret Jackman offered a proper perspective.

"I'll let you know at the end of the playoffs," Jackman said with a smile.

Like his goal a year ago, the goal against the Blackhawks put St. Louis up 2-0 in a best-of-7 series. But the Blues lost four straight to the Kings last year and saw their season end. They hope history doesn't repeat itself this year, and they can take a step toward that goal by beating the Blackhawks in Game 3 of their first-round series Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, CBC, RDSI, FS-MW, CSN-CH).

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Five ways Chicago can get back into its series

Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 8:15 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Add it up and the Chicago Blackhawks are exactly 1:51.4 away from having a 2-0 lead in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues.d.

You know the saying about when "almost" counts, and it's not in horseshoes, hand grenades and hockey. "Almost" wasn't good enough for the Blackhawks to win either game at Scottrade Center. They gave up one-goal leads late in regulation in each game and wound up losing in overtime.

What do the Blackhawks have to do to get back in the series, to turn what they almost did in St. Louis into something they actually do in Chicago?

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Ramsay: Leddy can help overcome loss of Seabrook

Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 7:49 PM / Blues vs Blackhawks - 2014 SCP First Round

Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

CHICAGO -- Losing defenseman Brent Seabrook for three games is a bigger blow for the Chicago Blackhawks than the St. Louis Blues' potentially losing center David Backes for an indeterminate amount of time, longtime NHL coach Craig Ramsay said.

Seabrook was suspended three games by the NHL's Department of Player Safety for his illegal hit on Backes with 4:51 to play in regulation of Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round series on Saturday.

Backes is questionable for Game 3 and beyond. Seabrook, who leads Chicago with four points and has played more than 60 minutes through two games, definitely won't play.

Ramsay said the best way for the Blackhawks to adjust to Seabrook's loss is to put more faith in defenseman Nick Leddy, who has averaged less than 12 minutes of regulation ice time per game in the series while playing on Chicago's third defense pair with Michal Rozsival.


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Quote of the Day

We think that Randy is a very good coach. Our players think that Randy is a very good coach. We think that he's going to get the most out of this group. With the addition of the two assistants, a bit of a different dynamic, we're very comfortable that this is a quality coaching staff that's going to maximize the potential of this team.

— Maple Leafs GM Dave Nonis on head coach Randy Carlyle and his staff