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playoffs

Blues are hungry to win Game 4 in Chicago

With recent playoff history, St. Louis feels it's important to grab 3-1 series lead

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- When the St. Louis Blues were in position to finish off Stanley Cup Playoff series the past three seasons, they couldn't match the level of intensity and desperation of their opponent.

That's why the Blues, despite a 2-1 lead in their Western Conference First Round series with the Chicago Blackhawks, are hungry to win Game 4 at United Center on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN360, TVA Sports, FS-MW, CSN-CH).

Even before its 3-2 come-from-behind victory in Game 3, St. Louis had its sights set on coming home with a 3-1 series lead, an approach that comes from the experience and agony of past postseason shortcomings.

"I think every game you go into, you want to win," said forward Jaden Schwartz, who scored the game-winning goal Sunday in Game 3. "[The Blackhawks are] a team that's done a lot of winning the last few years. They know when to up the tempo and know when to bring their 'A' games. We know that going into games that we're going to have to play a complete game or play a whole 60 or more to get the win.

"That pushes us even more. That's why the games are so fast; they're intense right now. Both teams are leaving everything on the ice, and it's one-goal games all the way around."

Video: STL@CHI, Gm3: Blues take lead with tic-tac-toe goal

In 2013, the Blues led the Los Angeles Kings in the first round 2-0 before losing four straight. In 2014, they led the Blackhawks 2-0 and lost that first-round series in six games. Last season, they were tied with the Minnesota Wild 2-2 in the first round before losing Games 5 and 6.

The Blues say enough is enough, and if they can win again in a tough environment, it would give them a stranglehold on the series heading home for Game 5 on Thursday. Proof that they can do it came Sunday, when the Blues became the first team since the 2014 Kings to defeat Chicago in regulation after trailing entering the third period.

"If you look at how many times we've come back from being down this year, to go through that in the regular season, you learn from it," defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. "At this time of the year, it seems to be second-nature for us. Obviously, we'd prefer not to be down going into the third period, but we have a belief that we can come back no matter what the score is."

Video: STL@CHI, Gm3: Backes lays a big hit on Toews

The Blues' secret this time around has been a penchant for letting go of things they can't control and moving on to the next task at hand.

"One of the things you learn from watching teams play that are championship teams, they move on very quickly," coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We needed to move on and show the maturity that we're capable of doing that stuff. That's what guys like [Paul] Stastny and [Troy] Brouwer were brought in for, to move the dial forward as quickly as possible. And they've done a great job all year.

"What helped us, looking back on it, was the situation the team went through in November and December, where we got points and we got outplayed badly in some games. We didn't have much of a roster playing and our guys really helped us move forward and helped us take the points and not worry about what the painting looked like, and I think it's helped us in the playoffs. We've been able to move on a lot quicker than we did before, a lot quicker."

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