Hawks deliver beat down on Blues, advance to 2nd round

Chicago Blackhawks centre Marcus Kruger is called for holding St. Louis Blues centre Vladimir...

Chicago Blackhawks centre Marcus Kruger is called for holding St. Louis Blues centre Vladimir Sobotka during the first period in Game 6 at the United Center. (Dennis Wierzbicki/USA TODAY Sports)

RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:20 PM ET

Going into the playoffs, the Chicago Blackhawks knew what facing the St. Louis Blues in the opening round could bring.

Sure, meeting a big and physical Blues squad that collected 111 points meant the chance for an earlier-than-expected elimination for the defending champs.

But if Chicago could get by St. Louis, which included overcoming the adversity of dropping their first two games, it would mean their game was rolling into high gear.

The Blackhawks put an emphatic stamp on finishing off the first-round series Sunday with a 5-1 beating Sunday afternoon to end their best-of-seven in six games.

Chicago will face the winner of the Colorado Avalanche-Minnesota Wild series. Colorado currently has a 3-2 lead, with Game 6 going Monday.

The Blues -- a pre-season Cup favourite whose chances took a massive hit with a plethora of injuries in the final weeks leading up to the playoffs, which resulted in a six-game losing streak that cost them the No. 1 seed in the Central Division -- will yet again see a great season wasted with a first-round exit coming in heartbreaking fashion.

It's the second consecutive year the Blues have opened the post-season with a pair of wins on home ice only to lose four straight and be ousted in six games.

Still, they have only themselves to blame for missing so many chances to break the game open before a soldout United Center crowd of 22,144.

With it tied 1-1 after the first intermission, St. Louis' inability to convert on the power play proved fatal. The Blues failed on six chances in the game, including five while the score was knotted.

They finished the series with a paltry two goals on 29 man-advantages. In Game 6, Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was the difference maker, making 17 saves in the second period while it was tied and 35 in the game.

The inevitable price was paid when Jonathan Toews broke the deadlock only 44 seconds into the final frame, and then Patrick Sharp made it 3-1 just past the two-minute mark.

Andrew Shaw and Duncan Keith rounded out the goal scoring. Keith finished with four points.

Chicago's Bryan Bickell and Blues forward T.J. Oshie traded first-period goals.

Blues goalie Ryan Miller made 21 saves in the loss.


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