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Blues again overcome adversity against Blackhawks

St. Louis rallies for Game 4 victory, on cusp of eliminating defending champions

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

CHICAGO -- When the Chicago Blackhawks get geared up behind 22,000-plus fans at United Center in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the opponent more times than not fails to come up with the proper response.

The St. Louis Blues have become the exception to the rule.

They did it again in the Western Conference First Round, and St. Louis is on the cusp of eliminating the defending Stanley Cup champions after a 4-3 victory in Game 4 on Tuesday put them up 3-1 in the best-of-7 series.

After a scrum broke out when St. Louis rookie forward Robby Fabbri tumbled over Chicago goalie Corey Crawford 11:54 into the second period, resulting in four roughing penalties and a minor for goaltender interference against Fabbri, the Blackhawks came out of it with a power play and took a 2-1 lead on the first of two goals by defenseman Duncan Keith.

Video: STL@CHI, Gm4: Steen steals, snipes insurance goal

Chicago had taken the lead after falling behind 1-0 on a Vladimir Tarasenko goal in the first period, and the sea of red was charged up. The Blues were on the ropes, and the Blackhawks had the chance to deliver the knockout punch and even the best-of-7 series.

These aren't the same old Blues, the ones who quietly bowed out in the first round of the playoffs each of the past three seasons.

After all, they scored twice in the third period to rally for a 3-2 victory in Game 3 in Chicago on Sunday afternoon, less than 48 hours after two video reviews went against them in a 3-2 loss at home in Game 2.

On Tuesday, Tarasenko tied it late in the second period with his second goal of the night, and Jaden Schwartz and Alexander Steen scored in the third to help St. Louis come up with the proper response once again.

Video: STL@CHI, Gm4: Schwartz finds puck, pots go-ahead goal

"We're going to have to [overcome adversity] to beat this team," said Schwartz, who has goals in back-to-back games. "We're going to have to find a way to come back when we're down, find a way to get some insurance goals when we're down by one, do all the little things.

"We're enjoying battling for each other right now. They're fun games to be a part of."

Coach Ken Hitchcock said it all goes back to the Blues' ability to overcome the slew of injuries that forced them to step up for one another during the regular season.

"I don't know if it's just Chicago; we have the belief that we can beat anybody," Hitchcock said. "We know that we're up against a formidable opponent. ... There are some things that happen during the year that force you to go one way or the other. What happened to us earlier in the year forced us to go one way, and we went the right way. There's a group togetherness in there that's strong, and we're going to need it. We're going to need it to win this series, we're going to need it every shift. We've been able to draw upon it when we needed it because we had no choice for six weeks."

Video: STL@CHI, Gm4: Tarasenko sparks Blues with two goals

And that belief has the Blues on the verge of winning their first playoff series since 2012.

"It wasn't that [scrum after Fabbri hit Crawford] that got us to respond," said goalie Brian Elliott, who made 39 saves. "It's just keeping our resiliency, just keeping our heads down and keep pushing, pushing, pushing. ... [Game 5] is obviously an important game, and they're going to have their backs up against the wall."

Game 5 is at Scottrade Center on Thursday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, CSN-CH, FS-MW).

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