ST. LOUIS -- On the strength of a third-period goal by Troy Brouwer, after he hit the post first, the St. Louis Blues are moving on from their Western Conference First Round matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blues defeated the Blackhawks 3-2 in Game 7 at Scottrade Center on Monday to win the series 4-3 and end the season for the defending Stanley Cup champions.
St. Louis scored twice in the first period, allowed Chicago to come back with goals from Marian Hossa and Andrew Shaw, but Brouwer's goal at 8:31 of the third held up. The Blues win their first playoff series since 2011-12, when they defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-1 in the Western Conference Quarterfinals.
What we learned: There will be no Stanley Cup repeat. A new team will hoist the Cup in June.
What this means for Blues: That these are not the old Blues. Though they allowed the Blackhawks to come back from 3-1 down in their first-round series, the Blues couldn't be contained in Game 7. And so St. Louis, which could have been broken mentally after dropping two to Chicago when the Blues had the Blackhawks on the edge of elimination, prevailed. They head to Dallas to begin their second-round series against the Dallas Stars, the first time they have made it into the second round after three consecutive first-round exits.
What this means for Blackhawks: Chicago couldn't quite come all the way back. They had won two games after going down 3-1 in the series. They had scored two goals after going down 2-0 in Game 7. But they couldn't win, not this time.
Key moment: With less than four minutes left in the third period, the Blackhawks had a heart-stopping moment, for them and the Blues. The puck, off of a slap shot from Brent Seabrook, hit the inside of first the left post and then the right post, never going across the goal line. The Blackhawks didn't score there, and didn't score again in the game.
Unsung player of the game: Alex Pietrangelo has been the unsung player in every game of this series, putting up monster minutes and monster presence. In Game 7, Pietrangelo turned in another stellar performance. He played 29:36 with four blocked shots and was on the ice for two of the three goals by the Blues. He was a significant factor in the Blues' win in this series.
What's next: The Dallas Stars for the Blues. Summer vacation for the Blackhawks.