ST. LOUIS (AP) — In the first period, Ryan Miller looked like the goalie who limped home 0-5. For the final 80 minutes, 26 seconds, the St. Louis Blues saw the cool, confident backstop they acquired to make the deep playoff run they've long sought.
Miller allowed three goals on seven shots in the first period, then shut the door on the Chicago Blackhawks to pave the way for Alexander Steen's deciding goal in an epic 4-3, triple-overtime Game 1 victory on Thursday night.
"It's not all about one period," Miller said. "I tried not to change my approach and it's nice to come out on the right side."
Steen scored 26 seconds into the third overtime to cap the longest playoff game in franchise history, beating Corey Crawford off a pair of short passes from Steve Ott and David Backes to end the marathon.
"I didn't know how open he was, obviously," Ott said. "He obviously buried it and the game's over. We stuck with it and we found a way to win it."
The Blues got most of their injured front-line players back for Game 1, then put a six-game losing streak to end the regular season behind them.
"Win, lose or draw, what happened in the third period was we finally saw our team," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The next challenge is finding a way to recover on short rest, with Game 2 on Saturday afternoon. Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo logged 44 minutes, 8 seconds of ice time and two Blackhawks, Duncan Keith and Niklas Hjalmarsson, played more than 40 minutes.
Miller made 39 saves for the Blues and Crawford had 48 for Chicago.
"I think the big thing for us is we have to realize it's only one game and we've got a quick turnaround coming back," Chicago's Patrick Kane said. "That's the best part about it, we get right back at it."
Kane scored on a breakaway to put Chicago up 3-2 late in the first period. Jaden Schwartz stole the puck to set up his tying goal with 1:45 to go in regulation.
The Blues' previous longest overtime game was a 4-3 loss at Detroit in 1984 that extended 37 minutes, 7 seconds. The home record for a playoff overtime game was 33:49 of extra time in a 5-4 win over Chicago on April 20, 1989.
St. Louis had to kill off delay-of-game penalties for shooting the puck into the stands in the first two overtimes and Chicago coach Joel Quenneville argued vehemently for a second delay of game that would have given Chicago a 5-on-3 advantage in the first OT. The Blackhawks killed off a holding penalty in the second overtime.
Jonathan Toews, like Kane back from a lengthy injury absence, had two assists for Chicago.
Continue reading this story on the...