Tonight in NHL Playoffs: Blues Seek to Knock Out Defending Champs

Providing bulletin board material for the defending Stanley Cup champions who just staved off elimination doesn't seem wise. Whether it's confidence or arrogance, though, Alex Pietrangelo doesn't mind having to head back to the United Center for Game 6 on Saturday night.

"It's going to be fun to win it in Chicago," the St. Louis defenseman boasted.

It's true that the Blues won Games 3 and 4 in the Windy City to put the Blackhawks in a 3-1 hole, having set up a chance to close out this first-round series Thursday at home and advance to the Western Conference semifinals for the first time since 2012. But that's also the last time Chicago was sent home in the opening round.

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The following year, the Blackhawks came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat Detroit in their first series before winning their second of three Cups in the last six seasons. The year after that, they lost Games 1 and 2 to St. Louis in the first round before rallying to win four straight, then forced Game 7 against Los Angeles in the conference finals after falling behind 3-1 and lost in overtime.

All of that makes it seem Pietrangelo's comment is ill-timed after Patrick Kane kept Chicago alive with a put-back goal 3:07 into the second overtime of Game 5 for a 4-3 victory. The Art Ross Trophy winner's fifth career postseason overtime goal tied him for third on the all-time list and helped the Blackhawks recover from losing a two-goal lead in the third period (see full preview).

Penguins look to put away Rangers
Evgeni Malkin wondered what he could possibly add to a team that was rolling into the playoffs. The New York Rangers might wish they hadn't found out the answer.

Malkin has provided additional scoring punch to the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins, who return home Saturday with a chance to wrap up their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with a Game 5 victory over the Rangers.

Pittsburgh entered the playoffs with wins in 14 of 16 games and hasn't slowed down with victories in three of four in this series. After losing home-ice advantage with a split at Consol Energy Center, the Penguins swept two in New York by a combined score of 8-1.

Malkin's final regular-season action came in the first game of Pittsburgh's 14-2-0 closing stretch. He also missed the postseason opener with an arm injury but returned with assists in Games 2 and 3 before posting two goals and a pair of assists in Thursday's 5-0 victory - the Penguins' sixth in the last seven games against the Rangers.

The six-time All-Star tied his postseason career high with four points, erasing any doubt about his role (see full preview).

Predators seek to steal game in Anaheim
The Anaheim Ducks were in harmony and taking care of business in Music City to even this first-round series and now need to get back to dominating in their own barn.

Frederik Andersen played a huge role in returning them to Southern California in the best possible position, and there's no reason to believe he won't be in net at Honda Center for Saturday night's pivotal Game 5 against the Nashville Predators.

Anaheim enjoyed the luxury of two capable goaltenders this season and had a pretty even split with Andersen winning 22 games, starting 37 and posting a .919 save percentage while John Gibson won 21 times with 38 starts and a .920 percentage.

It was Gibson who got a bulk of the minutes after Andersen suffered a concussion in late March, and although Andersen returned with a 2-0 shutout in the season finale at Washington, Gibson got the nod for the opening two games of the playoffs.

Six goals allowed and two home losses later and it was Andersen's turn to mind the net when the series shifted to Nashville. The switch paid off splendidly with Andersen, who went 16-1-2 over his prior 19 starts, making 27 saves in a 3-0 victory in Game 3 on Tuesday before stopping 30 in a 4-1 win Thursday that tied the series (see full preview).

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