Troy Brouwer, acquired in a trade for T.J. Oshie and brought in to help the Blues in the playoffs, scored his first goal of this series 8:31 into the third period.
That gave St. Louis a 3-2 win and series victory over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks.
Before the series, I laid out five key points for the Blues.
In addition to Ken Hitchcock needing to stick with Brian Elliott as the “go-to goalie,” I also said Brouwer would need to score goals for this team. He was held off until the final goal, but it was the most important goal of the series.
It took 89 games into the season, but the trade by GM Doug Armstrong paid off dividends.
Vladimir Tarasenko scored his goals as predicted and rookie defenseman Colton Parayko played big and did not crumble under the pressure. He scored two in this series including one in the first period to put the Blues up 2-0. Parayko did finish the series a -2, but his big body presence helped on the blue line.
A combination of players shutting down Hawks captain Jonathan Toews was also a key in this series. As I mentioned, he took over the series two years ago, but was held without a goal in these seven games.
The Blues advance to face Dallas in the second round. The Stars beat Minnesota in six games.