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Blues fail again to eliminate Blackhawks

Fail to hold two-goal lead in Game 6; play Game 7 at home

by Louie Korac / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The St. Louis Blues have come up empty in two shots at trying to eliminate the defending Stanley Cup champions.

They failed to accomplish the feat in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round series and gave the Chicago Blackhawks life.

In Game 6, the Blues led by two goals after the first period; the Blackhawks' response was to score three unanswered goals in the second period before closing out St. Louis 6-3 at United Center on Saturday.

That sets up a winner-take-all Game 7 at Scottrade Center on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET; NNCSN, CBC, TVA Sports, CSN-CH).

After the Blues hit the Blackhawks with three quick goals in the first period, Chicago responded like a team that has won three of the past six Stanley Cup championships. The Blackhawks outshot the Blues 19-6 in the second period and turned the Blues into a ball of turnovers. St. Louis goalie Brian Elliott seemingly was left to fend for himself.

Video: STL@CHI, Gm6: Shaw finishes Kane's pretty feed

"Second period, we've been doing that lately against these guys," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "It's obviously not good enough, we have to make sure we're up 3-1, we have to make sure we find a way to bury them."

Saying it is one thing; actually doing it is another.

"We sat back too much," left wing Alexander Steen said. "We've got to keep pushing the pace. We allowed them to come back into the game and ramped it up again in the third. Had a few chances, now we're heading home.

"We took our foot off the gas. They obviously went in the intermission and came out with steam and we kind of sat back thinking we were going to protect it. That's not the way to play the second period against these guys."

The Blues fell behind early on a goal by Chicago's Andrew Ladd but roared back to score three times in a 4:42 span. Scottie Upshall, Pietrangelo and Vladimir Tarasenko gave St. Louis what appeared to be a comfortable lead in this series. Their message was play the right way and the series would be over.

"They had a big surge; we didn't answer it," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "They've had a couple of those. We had some surges early and late, and they've had trouble with that. But their surges have been in the second period and we didn't answer it as well as we should have.

"First goal [of the second period] gave them a lot of momentum. We made a couple puck errors and gave them a lot of momentum, brought them back in the hockey game. They played at a pace that we struggled with until we regrouped in the third and went back at them. They were at a pace that we were having trouble keeping up to."

Video: STL@CHI, Gm6: Anisimov buries rebound for PPG

The Blues insist they're still in a good position. But their confidence has to be fragile considering the playoff failures of past seasons.

"We've worked hard all year to get to this, and we've got an opportunity in front of us," Hitchcock said. "I really want to see us take advantage of it, but we're going to need people to play better. We need our whole team to play better. If we do that, then I like our chances."

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