ST. LOUIS -- Chicago Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger might have had time in the neutral zone to turn and go up the left-wing wall had St. Louis Blues forward Jaden Schwartz not been closing so quickly. He was, and in a flash Schwartz stripped puck from Kruger and took it into the attacking zone, leading to the game-tying goal Thursday in the first period of their Stanley Cup Playoffs opener.
Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson could have had some space to collect the puck and make a move out of the corner in Chicago's defensive zone had Schwartz not been pinching hard up the wall. Again, he was, and that quick decision created the turnover that led to Schwartz's game-tying goal late with 1:45 left in the third period.
"Fall asleep, he's going to catch you every time," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said of Schwartz. "He did it five or six times again [Thursday night]."