St. Louis, MO (SportsNetwork.com) - For the fourth time in five games, the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues went to overtime.
And for the first time in their opening-round series, the road team won a game.
Jonathan Toews scored on a breakaway at 7:36 of the extra session, and the Blackhawks beat the Blues 3-2 on Friday night at Scottrade Center to take a 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven set.
The Blackhawks captain skated down the middle alone in on St. Louis goaltender Ryan Miller, pulled the puck to the backhand and slipped it inside the right post and past Miller's left pad, giving the defending Stanley Cup champions their third straight win.
Corey Crawford made 27 saves for Chicago, which will look to close out the series Sunday at home.
"We know it's not over. We're excited to have the opportunity at home to close it out, but we're gonna need our best game of the year," said Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith.
Miller also stopped 27 shots for a St. Louis that welcomed back its captain to the lineup.
David Backes returned after missing the previous two games with an upper-body injury. The forward was injured late in Game 2 after absorbing a vicious check from Brent Seabrook, a hit that earned the Chicago defenseman a three-game suspension he finished serving Friday night.
"It seems against a team that's got this type of finish, you make a big error, you pay for it," said Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock.
The Blackhawks quickly got into penalty trouble, as they were called for two holding infractions before the game was seven minutes old.
St. Louis, however, generated only one shot on the two power plays, squandering an opportunity to put Chicago in an early hole.
The Blues wound up falling behind later in the first period on a goal by Marian Hossa, who poked in his own rebound from the slot into an open net with 3:49 remaining.
Chicago then drew a holding-the-stick penalty on Alexander Steen with sustained pressure in the St. Louis zone, but it was the Blues who had the best chance late in the frame. Crawford made a save on an Alex Pietrangelo tip on a shorthanded rush with a minute left to preserve the Blackhawks' 1-0 lead.
The Blues tied things up on T.J. Oshie's highlight-reel goal at the 11:04 mark of the second period. Oshie handled a pass from Steen, cut to the middle and beat Crawford with a backhander while on his knees.
St. Louis came close to moving ahead later in the middle stanza, but Vladimir Sobotka misfired at a yawning cage.
Chicago managed to reclaim the lead with 2:50 left in the second. Sheldon Brookbank's one-timed blast from the point was knocked down and Ben Smith backhanded the loose puck past Miller from the slot.
The Blues drew even early in the third period, when Pietrangelo finished off a 2-on-1 rush with Jaden Schwartz by firing a wrister past Crawford at the 1:42 mark.