Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bernie: Blues Get Payback the Smart Way

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bernie: Blues Get Payback the Smart Way

Article excerpt

Blues captain David Backes was flattened on the ice at Scottrade Center, unable to move, removed from his senses and Game 2. And you wondered if the trainers would be calling for a stretcher to transport Backes to the locker room.

It was shocking to see Backes down and out even if he'd been put there by a filthy, out-of-line hit by Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook. Backes is as hard and tough as any player in the National Hockey League. And in body and mind, Backes is the strongest Blue. So when the most unbreakable Blue can't rise, the vision of a downed No. 42 can shake an entire team.

Things already were deteriorating for the Blues on Saturday afternoon. The Blues had blown a 2-0 lead, and when the hit was made on Backes, the home team trailed Chicago 3-2 in Game 2 of the first- round Western Conference playoff series.

Time was ticking away. Only 4 minutes 51 seconds remained in the third period. The Blackhawks were about to win this game, tie the series and hijack the momentum back to Chicago.

But this wasn't over. The mood suddenly shifted after a sequence of events: The bloody Backes pulled himself up, momentarily unscrambled his brains, and skated off (if you want to call it that) with Blues trainer Ray Barile by his side. The officials called a five-minute major on Seabrook, who was ejected for the remainder of the game.

The Blues didn't have Backes to play for them, but they had a long power play to work with. And the Note had something else going their way: the ability to intelligently channel their rage, their frustration, and their bloodthirsty desire to seek revenge.

The best way to make the Blackhawks pay? Score a piercing goal, tie the game, push the Blackhawks into overtime, and capture the day to make the 'Hawks feel pain for Seabrook's reckless actions.

"It's going to be a long series, and we'll get our opportunities," Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "But I think that hurts the most that's the real dagger. When you're the guy sitting in the locker room, and you see that goal go in. I've been on the bad side of it, and I know how it feels."

The Blues had their own ideas about payback. Vladimir Tarasenko scored a power play goal with 6.4 seconds left in the third period, causing dejected Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford to put his head down.

"Brutal," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "You're right there, six seconds away. Brutal."

This drama was headed to extra time, this game was taken to a place where Seabrook didn't want to go. The Backes wipeout was about to blow up on Seabrook and the Blackhawks.

Only 5 minutes and 50 seconds into an OT controlled by the Blues, defenseman Barret Jackman made the retribution official by slithering a shot between Crawford's pads. As if to prolong the Blackhawks' torment, the puck slid ever-so-slowly across the goal line . …

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