Chicago Blackhawks fight back, force Game 7 vs. Blues

Apr 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Dale Weise (25) is congratulated for scoring a goal during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 23, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Dale Weise (25) is congratulated for scoring a goal during the second period in game six of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

After going down 3-1 through one period, the Chicago Blackhawks scored five unanswered goals, defeating the St. Louis Blues 6-3 in Game 6. With the win, the Blackhawks forced a Game 7 in St. Louis on Monday night.

Is anyone surprised?

The Blackhawks were down 3-1 in their first round series against the Blues, nearly getting eliminated in Game 5 before Patrick Kane‘s game winning goal. Saturday night, the Blackhawks dominated the Blues 6-3, forcing a do-or-die Game 7 Monday night in St. Louis.

Andrew Ladd scored the game’s first goal at the 03:47 mark of the first period, his first of the 2016 playoffs.. He was one of the Blackhawks’ several trade deadline acquisitions who who play a tremendous role in the Hawks’ victory.

More from Chicago Blackhawks

After Ladd’s goal, the Blackhawks had a chance to break the game wide open early. Dale Weise made a smooth pass from the slot to Andrew Desjardins, who was on Brian Elliott‘s doorstep. Desjardins missed a wide open net though, keeping the lead at 1-0.

Desjardins’ missed opportunity came quite possibly at the worst possible time. After his missed shot, the Blues scored three goals in the span of 4:48 (Scottie Upshall, Alex Pietrangelo, Vladimir Tarasenko), taking a 3-1 lead over the Blackhawks into the first intermission.

This season, the Blues were 20-0-1 when leading after the first period, but apparently the Blackhawks didn’t get this memo. Chicago outscored St. Louis 3-0 in the second period, with goals scored by Artem Anisimov, Trevor van Riemsdyk and Weise.

Anisimov’s goal came on a power-play, cutting the Blues’ lead to 3-2. The goal itself was an impressive feat, considering the fact that the Blackhawks were 3/15 with the man advantage going into the last night’s game in the playoffs. On the night, the Blackhawks were 2/3 on the power-play, while the Blues were 0/1.

Anisimov continues to prove to be a fantastic addition to the Blackhawks from last offseason. In addition to his 20 regular season goals, he’s scored three in the playoffs, tied with Andrew Shaw for most on the team.

The Blues held a 3-2 for around eight minutes before the Blackhawks came storming back. Jonathan Toews flew by several Blues’ players, taking the puck right to the net before passing it off to van Riemsdyk for a tap-in goal.

While both the pass and goal were impressive, it should be noted that Richard Panik was able to avoid two Blues’ players for several seconds before Toews entered the zone. Both he and Toews received an assist for the goal.

Although just 25 years old, Panik was unable to crack the Toronto Maple Leafs’ starting lineup before he was acquired by the Blackhawks in early January. Now, he’s playing alongside Toews and Patrick Kane in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, two perennial NHL superstars.

Weise’s goal came just four minutes later, taking a pass from Artemi Panarin behind the net and one-timing a shot off Elliott’s shoulder, just under the crossbar. Not only did the goal put the Blackhawks ahead, but it was also Weise’s first with the team.

Acquired from the Montreal Canadiens with Tomas Fleischmann, Weise was scratched quite often by Joel Quenneville during the winger’s limited number of regular season games with the team. He was also scratched for Games 1, 2 and 4 of this series, but seemingly has found his groove in Games 5 and 6.

Weise is known to be a player similar to Shaw in terms of how he plays on the ice, which was evident in Game 6. Before receiving Panarin’s pass on his goal, Weise threw down Kevin Shattenkirk, freeing himself up to be all alone on Elliott’s backdoor.

For his career, Weise now has six playoff goals. Two have been overtime winners, two have been tie-breakers, one game-tying and one that made it 3-0. Including last night, all six have come in a victory for his team.

Weise and Panik went from not being good enough during the regular season to now playing important ice-time in playoff elimination games. Panik himself had an assist and six hits in Game 6, earning 16:13 of ice-time and the game’s #1 star honor, with Weise getting the #2 star.

Funny how things can change, huh?

Shaw added a power-play goal assisted by Kane late in the third and Marian Hossa had an empty net goal, sealing the victory for the Blackhawks. After being down 3-1 in the series, the team unbelievably has a shot to win in Game 7 and advance to the second round.

Obviously, the Blues will bring their A-game to the series’ final game, but they will be facing a battle-tested Blackhawks’ team with a plethora of experience on its side. While the Blackhawks are just 2-2 in Game 7’s under Quenneville, they’ve won the last two that they’ve played in (Detroit 2013 and Anaheim 2015).

On the other hand, the Blues will be up against the possibility of losing in the first round for the fourth consecutive year. However, Game 7 will be played at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, meaning the Blackhawks will be playing in a tough environment for a tough game.

All in all, erasing a 3-1 deficit is a testament to the Chicago Blackhawks’ resilience and experience that has come with three Stanley Cup championships in six seasons. Game 7 will be exciting, a do-or-die game between one of the NHL’s biggest rivalries.

Next: Chicago Blackhawks prepping for a comeback

Game 7 will be played Monday night in St. Louis. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. CT and the game can be seen locally on CSN-Chicago or heard on WGN-720 AM.