Are the Blues in the Blackhawks' heads? Certainly they appeared to be in Corey Crawford's (or at the very least making contact with it). Andrew Shaw removed himself from the series for overreacting to a penalty after a potential Blues penalty was overlooked. Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have not scored a goal yet.
To make matters worse for the Hawks, the Blues have never lost a series clinching game five the five instances of that in team history. They're 24-11 in series clinching games. They've won five of their last seven home playoff games against Chicago. The Blackhawks, though, have been down in series before, only to storm back to win. Overall history favors the Blues, recent history is enough to make Blackhawks fans crow about how the series isn't over yet - and for Blues fans to potentially agree with them. They're 7-1 in potential season-ending games since 2013, but there seems to be something different about the Hawks this year.
Last year's rash, impulsive Blues have been erased and replaced by a team that is tenacious with a killer instinct. Their one flaw seems to be sitting on what leads that they've had - their two goal lead turned to a one goal in the third period on Tuesday night; a scare like that tonight at home and the crowd might have a cardiac event. The Blackhawks have been the one whose killer instinct has dissipated. They've been the rash and impetuous team, which has played right into the Blues' 33% effectiveness on the powerplay. They aren't being clear-headed on the ice, especially Andrew Shaw.
Shaw's been one the Blackhawks' best forwards this series, with two goals and two assists against the Blues so far. He also won't be joining the team on ice tonight, since he has been suspended a game for using a homophobic slur. Robert Bortuzzo had this to say regarding Shaw:
"That’s how he’s going to play," Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo said of Shaw’s antics. "I don’t think we let it affect us. We just kind of kept forging on. At the end, that’s hockey, that’s sports, you’re probably going to see that in probably 15 games throughout the playoffs."
How often have you heard players say that regarding the Blues? The difference this series is a difference in attitude, not ability. Last time that these two teams met in the playoffs, most of the games were decided on a razor's edge. This series has been as close as they come; let's not think that the Blues are dominating the whole thing. Where the difference lies is in which team is being level headed and playing up to ability.
If the Blues keep that up tonight, there'll be a handshake line at center ice when all is said and done.