The Blues finally vanquished their Central Division foes. It took taking a few misses in a Game 7 to do it, but the Blues bested the Blackhawks 3-2 in the finale of the Stanley Cup playoff's best opening series.
Brian Elliott withstood a Blackhawks barrage all game, winning his first Game 7 with 32 saves.
The game quickly stalled after David Backes' hit on Brent Seabrook broke a chunk out of a glass divider near the boards. Even with the delay, the Blues were able to come right out of it with a lead. Jay Bouwmeester's point shot was deflected by Jori Lehtera in front to beat Corey Crawford high.
Rookie defenseman Colton Parayko doubled the Blues' lead to 2-0 at 13:43 of the first period. His shot from the blue line deflected off a Blackhawks skate, then went in off the left post before Crawford could reach it.
But Chicago didn't panic, and Marian Hossa got the Blackhawks back within one with 1:30 to play in the first. A Blues defender blew a tire in the neutral zone, giving Hossa the time and space he needed to fire a quick one between the legs of Carl Gunnarsson and over the glove of Elliott before the first intermission.
Working off the momentum of Hossa's goal, the Blackhawks got lucky off a power play early in the second. Andrew Shaw's centering shot from the side of the cage deflected off the knee of Bouwmeester and in through the legs of Elliott for the 2-2 evening score.
A combination of bad luck and Crawford's stellar saves had the Blues missing on two huge opportunities in the second. Twice, the Blues missed wide on open nets after constant St. Louis pressure. If it wasn't bad luck, Crawford was there to stop the rest with some big-time goaltending.
But finally, the Blues found the back of an open net. Originally on a shot that hit off the post, Troy Brouwer nearly completed the trifecta of missed opportunities, but a backhander sealed it for the 3-2 score at 8:31 of the third period.
Third time’s a charm for Troy Brouwer. Blues lead 3-2 pic.twitter.com/8E01UAC3KE— Pete Blackburn (@PeteBlackburn) April 26, 2016
Brouwer's tally was ultimately the game-winner, as even the Blackhawks were not able to muster up one final comeback to send the game to overtime. Chicago hit both posts as the final minutes were winding down, but no goal was ruled on the play.