Duncan Keith had a goal and three assists, and the Chicago Blackhawks used a four-goal third period to finish off the St. Louis Blues with a 5-1 victory in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series on Sunday at Chicago.
The Blackhawks won four in a row after a slow start in St. Louis. The defending Stanley Cup champions will play the winner of the Minnesota Wild-Colorado Avalanche series in the Western Conference semifinals. The Avalanche leads the Wild 3-2 heading into Game 6 in Minnesota on Monday night.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Sharp, Andrew Shaw and Keith scored in the third period as the Blackhawks improved to 14-2 in home playoff games over the last two seasons. Corey Crawford made 35 saves, keeping Chicago in a tie game when St. Louis controlled the second period.
T.J. Oshie scored for the Blues, who outshot the Blackhawks 36-27. Ryan Miller finished with 22 saves.
St. Louis went 0 for 6 in 10 minutes of power-play time over the first two periods, wasting a chance to take the lead. The Blues went two for 29 with the man advantage for the series.
The Blackhawks also struggled on the power play, but they scored when it mattered most.
With Jay Bouwmeester in the box for tripping, Keith made a nice stop to keep the puck in the St. Louis zone, then fired a pass over to Toews. The captain beat Miller over his right shoulder for a 2-1 lead just 44 seconds into the third period.
Toews' 23rd career postseason goal seemed to take the air out of the Blues, and it got even worse for St. Louis.
It was an eerily similar playoff exit for St. Louis to a year ago, when the Blues also were eliminated by the defending Stanley Cup champions in six games in the first round. In that 2013 playoff series, St. Louis won the first two games at home against the Kings, then lost four in a row.
at N.Y. Rangers 4, Philadelphia 2: Brad Richards and Dominic Moore scored second-period goals, and Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves as the Rangers pushed the Flyers to the brink of elimination with a 4-2 victory.
Defenseman Marc Staal gave the Rangers the lead in the first period and they extended it in the second in taking a 3-2 edge in the first-round Eastern Conference series. Game 6 is Tuesday in Philadelphia.
The teams have alternated wins the entire series.
Philadelphia's Steve Mason wasn't nearly as sharp in his second straight start following a late-season injury. He stopped 18 shots after his 37-save effort in a 2-1 victory in Game 4 got the Flyers even.
Vinny Lecavalier made it 3-1 late in the second period on the power play, and Claude Giroux scored his first of the series with 1 minute 29 seconds left after Mason was pulled for an extra skater.