NHL Playoffs

Toews pounces after Blues fall asleep in OT

2014-04-25T20:16:30Z 2014-04-26T15:25:13Z Toews pounces after Blues fall asleep in OTThe Associated Press The Associated Press
April 25, 2014 8:16 pm  • 

ST. LOUIS — Jonathan Toews caught the St. Louis Blues’ defense napping after the Chicago Blackhawks got a lucky carom.

Just like that, the puck was in the net and the defending Stanley Cup champions were in command of the first-round series.

“I wasn’t even sure where their D-men were,” Toews said after scoring at 7:36 of overtime to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory Friday night and a 3-2 series lead. “Just got going as fast as I could. Take advantage of a chance.”

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford stopped a shot by David Backes, defenseman Duncan Keith cleared the puck and the rebound deflected off Andrew Shaw’s shin pad all the way to the Chicago captain alone at center ice off a change.

Toews sped in with two defensemen in futile pursuit and threw a few fakes at goalie Ryan Miller before slipping a backhander into the net.

“I was just saying to some of the guys in the other room, I’m trying to get the puck out of the zone and all of a sudden it lands on his stick,” Keith said. “Couldn’t believe it. So, I was pretty happy seeing that.”

St. Louis defenseman Roman Polak saw Toews coming off the bench but reasoned that the Blues had control, so he left the ice about the same time Backes was shooting.

Replacement Jay Bouwmeester never had a chance and Toews also got behind Jordan Leopold.

“It was a lucky bounce or something,” Polak said. “It was just a lucky bounce.”

Marian Hossa and Ben Smith also scored for the Blackhawks, who have won three in a row and can wrap up the first-round series at home Sunday.

Four of the first five games in the series have gone to overtime.

“I think we got lucky on that winning goal, but I don’t think that at the end of the day we win because of luck,” Keith said. “I think both teams have a lot of fire and grit and a lot of determination, and it’s a fine line between winning and losing.

“Like I’ve said a few times, we’re going to need our best game of the year our next game.”

T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues.

Flyers 2, Rangers 1: In Philadelphia, Steve Mason stopped 37 shots in his first start of the series, Matt Read and Jakub Voracek scored and Philadelphia beat New York to tie the first-round matchup 2-2.

Ray Emery started the first three games for Mason, who was out with an upper-body injury. Mason played the final 7:15 in a 4-1 loss Tuesday night.

“(Mason) was huge,” said winger Jake Voracek, whose power-play goal in the second period was the difference. “That was exactly what we needed — a game like that.”

Game 5 is Sunday in New York.

Ducks 6, Stars 2: In Anaheim, Calif., Ryan Getzlaf had a goal and two assists in his return from injury, and the Ducks scored four power-play goals to take a 3-2 lead in their first-round series.

Corey Perry also had a goal and two assists for the top-seeded Ducks, who confidently moved to the brink of the second round after dropping the last two games in Dallas.

Nick Bonino, Mathieu Perreault, Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell also scored for Anaheim, which set a franchise record for playoff power-play goals. The Ducks chased Kari Lehtonen with five goals on their first 21 shots.

Jamie Benn and Shawn Horcoff scored for the Stars, who couldn’t score on seven power-play chances.

Game 6 is Sunday in Dallas.

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