Kane leads Blackhawks past Blues, 4-3 in OT
CHICAGO (AP) — Patrick Kane had his shot all along. Same for his dazzling puck-handling skills and the vision that sees the plays before they happen.
What Kane got back on Wednesday night was his legs, and the result was a familiar one.
Kane scored his second goal of the game at 11:17 of overtime, and the Chicago Blackhawks beat the St. Louis Blues 4-3 to even their first-round playoff series at two games.
“Special player. Patience, play recognition, delays, just at a different level you don’t see often,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Kane missed the final 12 games of the regular season after he hurt his left leg during a 4-0 victory over St. Louis on March 19. He scored in his first game back in the series opener against the Blues, but Game 4 was by far his best performance since the injury.
“Every game feels like I’ve gotten a little bit better,” he said. “Whether it’s timing or getting used to playing in the playoffs again, whatever it may be, just try to keep getting better and better and use these games to my advantage.”
Kane carried the puck down the left side in OT as teammates Ben Smith and Brandon Saad rushed toward the net, and beat Ryan Miller with a well-placed wrist shot for his 32nd career postseason goal.
Kane, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP last season, also had a shot go off the crossbar earlier in overtime.
“He’s a dangerous player,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “He’s dangerous off the rush. The most dangerous player in the league.”
Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell also scored for defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago, which blew a 2-0 second-period lead. Jonathan Toews had two assists and Corey Crawford made 30 saves.
Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is Friday night in St. Louis.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored two goals for the Blues, and Miller finished with 30 stops. Maxim Lapierre also scored his first goal of the series.
“We knew it was going to be a tough battle and I think we’re right where we want to be,” Lapierre said. “We won our two games at home. We came were and played good hockey. Now we’ve got to focus, regroup and play good hockey in St. Louis again.”
Tarasenko’s fourth goal of the playoffs made it 3-2 at 12:26 of the third, but Bickell tipped Michal Rozsival’s slap shot past Miller to tie it with 3:52 left in regulation.
The Blues were without captain David Backes again after he was scratched for the second straight game with an upper-body injury. Backes hasn’t played since he absorbed a big hit from Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook in the third period of St. Louis’ 4-3 overtime victory Saturday.
Seabrook served the second of his three-game suspension, giving Sheldon Brookbank his second straight start with top defenseman Duncan Keith.
Blues forward Brenden Morrow also was scratched after Hitchcock said earlier in the day that he would miss the rest of the series. Morrow missed the final three games of the regular season with a foot injury. He played in Games 1 and 3 against the Blackhawks.
Playing in front of another loud sellout crowd, the Blackhawks used their maligned power play to grab the lead in the second.
St. Louis defenseman Alex Pietrangelo had his stick knocked away by Toews, who fired a shot that went off Shaw’s right skate and popped up in the air. Shaw then swiped it in with a backhand for his first goal of the postseason at 8:40.
It was the Blackhawks’ second power-play goal in 17 opportunities for the series.
Kane got an assist on Shaw’s score, and then scored one of his own to make it 2-0 at 16:09. Defenseman Johnny Oduya made a beautiful cross-ice pass to a streaking Kane, who shot it over Miller’s glove for his second of the series.
“I just try to play off instincts and have the feeling that you’re going to make things happen instead of waiting around,” Kane said. “I’ll try to keep that going.”
St. Louis appeared to be in big trouble before Kane committed a delay of game penalty with 1:16 left in the second, giving the Blues an opening. Just seven seconds into the resulting power play, Tarasenko beat a screened Crawford for his third goal of the series.
It was the Blues’ second power-play goal in 21 chances in the series.
St. Louis then got another late-period goal when Lapierre’s shot went off the right post and then Crawford’s left shoulder before going into the net with 3.1 seconds to go. Five of the Blues’ goals in the series have come in the final two minutes of a period.
NOTES: Blues C Derek Roy returned after missing Game 3. ... Blues C Vladimir Sobotka was shaken up after a big hit from Bickell in overtime, but quickly returned to the ice.
Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap