It took three games, but the tensions between the St. Louis Blues and Chicago Blackhawks finally started to boil over into brawl mode in Game 3. The Blues survived, earning a 4-3 win and a 3-1 series lead over Chicago.
Vladimir Tarasenko was the most dangerous forward on the ice on Wednesday, registering two goals and three points in the win. He now has 13 goals in 17 career playoff games.
Tarasenko opened the scoring early in the first period thanks to a play from Jori Lehtera. The Blues center drove through the offensive zone and whipped a pass back for Tarasenko, who rifled it past Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford for his second of the playoffs.
Chicago stormed back. A second period shot from Marian Hossa looked wide until it grazed Andrew Shaw's jersey and deflected past Blues goalie Brian Elliott to tie the game. A few minutes later, Blues forward Robby Fabbri got in Corey Crawford's grill and Crawford incited a brawl. The Blackhawks got a power play out of the ensuing scrum, collapsed the net and defenseman Duncan Keith potted a rebound to gain a 2-1 Chicago advantage.
Leave it to Tarasenko to change things. The Russian winger fired a laser of a shot past Elliott at the end of the second period to restore the tie. That set the tone for the rest of the game, as the Blues would score two more unanswered goals in the third period to take and hold the lead for good.