BROUWER NETS GAME-WINNER AS BLUES DETHRONE DEFENDING CHAMPS
Troy Brouwer scored the game-winning goal at 8:31 of the third period to help the St. Louis Blues defeat the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks in the first Game 7 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Blues won their first playoff series since the 2012 Western Conference Quarterfinals against the San Jose Sharks (4-1 W).
* The thriller Monday was indicative of the closely-contested series. Six of the seven games in the Western Conference First Round between the Blues and Blackhawks were decided by one goal and 91.3 percent of total playing time in the series saw the score tied or within one goal (412:48 of 452:11).
* The Blues won their first Game 7 since 1999, when they -- directed by current Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville -- claimed a 1-0 overtime win at the Phoenix Coyotes in a Western Conference Quarterfinal series.
* Brouwer, who appeared in 238 regular-season and 43 playoff games with the Blackhawks highlighted by winning the Stanley Cup in 2010, scored his second career game-winning goal against his former team. The first was during the 2015 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic, where he scored with 12.9 seconds remaining in the third period to guide the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory.
* Jori Lehtera scored his first career playoff goal exactly one minute into the game. Per Elias, it tied the fastest goal to begin a Game 7 in Blues history (also Martin Rucinsky in 2003 CQF at the Vancouver Canucks). Elias adds he also became the third player in Blues history to score his first career playoff goal in a Game 7, joining Ron Schock (1968 SF vs. MNS) and Denis Chasse (1995 CQF vs. VAN).
* The Blues will play the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Second Round, the 13th all-time playoff matchup between the teams and first since the 2001 Western Conference Semifinals (4-0 STL W).
Video: CHI@STL, Gm7: Brouwer beats Crawford in the crease
Home Team in Caps
NASHVILLE 3, Anaheim 1 - series tied 3-3
ST. LOUIS 3, Chicago 2 - STL wins 4-3
RINNE, PREDATORS FORCE GAME 7
Pekka Rinne denied 26 of 27 shots he faced and James Neal (1-1-2) scored the game-winning goal with 2:15 remaining in the second period to help the Nashville Predators earn their first home win of the series and force Game 7 against the Anaheim Ducks.
* Rinne made 19 of his 26 saves in the final two periods. He's 17-6-2 in his past 26 appearances since Feb. 18 (regular season and playoffs).
* Neal scored his third career game-winning goal in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and first in a Predators uniform (also Game 4 of 2011 CQF at TBL and Game 4 of 2013 CSF at OTT, both w/ PIT).
GAME 7 TRENDS
* Home teams improved to 95-67 (.586) all-time in Game 7s in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and the team that scores first improved to 120-42 (.741).
* The showdown Wednesday in Anaheim will mark the 40th Game 7 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2009, the most frequently-occurring series length in that span:
Series Length (since 2009)
7 games: 40
6 games: 35
5 games: 24
4 games: 14
MILESTONES & BENCHMARKS
* Per Elias, Colton Parayko became the first defenseman in Blues history to score in a Game 7. At 22 years, 349 days old, Elias adds Parayko was also was the youngest player in Blues history to score in a Game 7.
* Predators captain Shea Weber scored his 12th career playoff goal to move within one of tying David Legwand (13) for the most in team history.
Video: ANA@NSH, Gm6: Weber seals win with empty-netter
The only teams remaining in the postseason to have won the Stanley Cup in the past decade are the Ducks (2007) and Pittsburgh Penguins (2009) . . . The Blues own an all-time series record of 8-1 when leading 3-1 in a best-of-seven series . . . Blues forward Jaden Schwartz (0-1-1) extended his point streak to six games (3-4-7) . . . The NHL announced start times for the two games Wednesday: Game 7 of the first-round series between the Ducks and Predators (10:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 p.m. CT / 7:00 p.m. PT in Anaheim), and Game 1 of the second-round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and New York Islanders (7:00 p.m. ET in Tampa Bay) . . . Philadelphia Flyers forward Brayden Schenn will have a hearing with the NHL Department of Player Safety on Tuesday for charging/illegal check to the head of Capitals forward T.J. Oshie.