ST. LOUIS -- Once again, the St. Louis Blues are banking on resiliency to bounce back from a stinging defeat at Scottrade Center.
After losing to the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 in double overtime in a game that ended early Friday morning, the Blues aim to quickly forget how close they came to ending their Western Conference First Round series against the defending Stanley Cup champions.
St. Louis outshot Chicago 14-6 in the third period and 46-35 for the game. The Blues scored two goals in the third to send the game past regulation, erasing a late Blackhawks lead for the third straight game, then outshot the Blackhawks 11-7 in the first overtime.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford had to make a number of key saves to keep the game going until Patrick Kane ended it at 3:07 of the second overtime, leaving the Blues up 3-2 in the best-of-7 series.
Now it's back to United Center for Game 6 on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, TVA Sports 2).
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"I still thought we deserved to win the game," said Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who had the primary assist on all three St. Louis goals. "[The] puck ends up right back on [Kane's] stick somehow, he finds an open net, but I thought we did a lot of good things tonight. Thought we played one of our better games. We deserved to win. [We'll] get ready for the next one. We're still up 3-2."
The Blues won Games 3 and 4 at United Center to take a 3-1 lead in the best-of-7 series. They also won twice in Chicago during the regular season. Those wins have instilled confidence that they can do it again, this time to close out a team that's won the Cup three times in the past six seasons.
"It's going to be a tough place to win, but we won the last two there, so go there and [do] more of the same," Pietrangelo said. "It's good hockey right now. We knew it was going to be like that going into the start of the series, so, it's going to be fun here to win it in Chicago. That's the game plan right now and their backs are still against the wall, so I think they're thinking the same thing right now. We've all got to flip the switch and get ready for Saturday."
The Blues had the switch flipped in the third period; they trailed 3-1 to start but got goals by Robby Fabbri at 6:57 and David Backes at 14:50 to tie it and send packed house of 19,956 into a frenzy.
Fabbri carried the puck into traffic in the slot before beating Crawford with a wrist shot. Backes tied it by getting his stick blade on the puck as it slid along the ice toward the net following a shot by Pietrangelo. It changed direction and eluded Crawford, who finished with 43 saves.
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"We just stuck to our game," said Fabbri, whose goal was his first of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. "We had the same mentality throughout all five periods and that's just the way we've got to keep playing the rest of the series."
It's exactly what the Blues did in Game 3, when they bounced back from a 3-2 home loss to the Blackhawks in which two video reviews each went Chicago's way. "Resiliency" is a key mantra for St. Louis, which overcame numerous key injuries throughout the regular season, so the Blues will lean on it again.
Coach Ken Hitchcock was asked what he told his players after the game, and his message was pretty simplistic.
"The plane's at 3," Hitchcock said, referring to the flight departing for Chicago on Friday. "Let's get playing. We knew this was going to be difficult. We knew this was going to be hard and we knew it was going to be a huge challenge. We've just got to find another way to make them crack some more."
They nearly did it in the first overtime, when the puck stayed in the Blackhawks' end for long stretches and the Blues generated multiple quality scoring chances. They just couldn't get the puck past Crawford.
"We thought one of those would go in eventually," Pietrangelo said. "But that's how it rolls sometimes. Hockey gods are testing us right now, so like I said, we'll get ready for Saturday."