St. Louis Blues (2-3) at Chicago Blackhawks (3-2), 3 p.m. (ET)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The St. Louis Blues once held a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference quarterfinals, but on Sunday afternoon in Chicago they'll try to stave off elimination against the relentless Blackhawks.
This battle between the second and third-place teams in the Central Division has been extremely close, with four of the five games so far going to overtime. Chicago, however, has won three straight and can eliminate the Blues in this afternoon's Game 6 battle at United Center.
However, the Blues, who finished four points ahead of the Blackhawks in the regular-season standings, will get to host Game 7 on Tuesday if they can pick up the road victory on Sunday.
Chicago became the first road team to win a game in this series when it posted a 3-2 OT victory in Friday's meeting at Scottrade Center. The defending Stanley Cup champions earned a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven set after captain Jonathan Toews scored on a breakaway at 7:36 of the extra session.
Toews skated down the middle alone in on St. Louis goaltender Ryan Miller, pulled the puck to the backhand and slipped it inside the right post and past Miller's left pad.
Corey Crawford made 27 saves for Chicago.
"We know it's not over. We're excited to have the opportunity at home to close it out, but we're gonna need our best game of the year," said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith.
Miller stopped 27 shots in the loss, but couldn't prevent his team from getting pushed to the brink of elimination.
"It seems against a team that's got this type of finish, you make a big error, you pay for it," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
St. Louis lost despite getting its captain back for Game 5, as David Backes returned after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury. The forward was injured late in Game 2 after absorbing a vicious check from Brent Seabrook.
Seabrook earned a three-game suspension for the hit, but that punishment ended with Friday's contest and the defenseman will be in the lineup for Game 6.
Chicago hopes to use its recent home dominance of the Blues to end this series on Sunday. The Blackhawks, who were 27-7-7 as the host during the regular season, claimed Game 3 on home ice by a 2-0 score and then notched a 4-3 overtime victory in Wednesday's Game 4.
Including the recent playoff meetings, Chicago has won four straight and 12 of its last 14 home encounters with the Blues.
St. Louis is trying to avoid its second straight first-round playoff exit. The Blues were knocked out in six games by Los Angeles in 2013 despite also holding a 2-0 lead in that quarterfinal series.
Chicago Goal - Bryan Bickell (2), from Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith at 4:12. 2,
St Louis Goal - T.J. Oshie (2), from Alexander Steen and Jay Bouwmeester at 16:28.
Marcus Kruger, Chicago (Hooking), 7:51; Marcus Kruger, Chicago (Holding), 17:26.
Jonathan Toews, Chicago (Hi-sticking), 3:50; Marian Hossa, Chicago (Hi stick - double minor), 7:15; Alexander Steen, St. Louis (Slashing), 8:23; Patrick Sharp, Chicago (Tripping), 15:47; Jay Bouwmeester, St. Louis (Tripping), 19:05.
Chicago Power-Play Goal - Jonathan Toews (3), from Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook at :44. 4,
Chicago Goal - Patrick Sharp, from Patrick Kane at 2:01. 5,
Chicago Goal - Andrew Shaw (2), from Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival at 7:30. 6,
Chicago Goal - Duncan Keith (2), from Andrew Shaw and Marcus Kruger at 17:05.
Vladimir Sobotka, St. Louis (Hooking), 2:56.
Shots on Goal:
St. Louis 11 + 17 + 8 =
Chicago 8 + 3 + 16 =
Power Play Conversion:
St. Louis 0-6.
St. Louis, Ryan Miller 5-27-.815. Chicago, Corey Crawford 1-36-.972.
Gord Dwyer, Dan O'Halloran
David Brisebois, Jonny Murray
Chicago, IL (SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks have cleared yet another hurdle in their quest for a second straight Stanley Cup.
For the St. Louis Blues, it was another bad moment of deja vu.
And once again, Jonathan Toews came through on the game's biggest stage.
Toews' score 44 seconds into the third period began a four-goal barrage in the final frame that carried the Blackhawks to a 5-1 Game 6 victory over the Blues that wrapped up a thrilling Western Conference quarterfinal series between the longtime rivals.
Four of the first five meetings were decided in overtime, the most recent Chicago's 3-2 triumph in Friday's Game 5 on Toews' eighth career postseason game-winner. There was no need for sudden death in Sunday's clincher, however, after St. Louis unraveled over the final 20 minutes following a dominant but frustrating second period.
Corey Crawford kept the Blues scoreless in the second despite St. Louis owning a 17-3 advantage in shots, and Toews, Patrick Sharp and Andrew Shaw all lit the lamp with the first 7 1/2 minutes of the third to turn a nail-biting contest into a blowout.
Duncan Keith tacked on another goal late for good measure and added three assists, with defense partner Brent Seabrook tallying a pair of helpers in his return from a three-game suspension for a check to the head of St. Louis captain David Backes in Game 2.
Crawford stopped 35-of-36 shots overall to once again outduel counterpart Ryan Miller, who managed just 22 saves in the Blues' fourth consecutive loss after taking the first two games in overtime.
It's the second straight year St. Louis blew a 2-0 series lead in the opening round. The Blues dropped four straight to a Los Angeles Kings team that eventually fell to the Blackhawks in the 2013 West finals.