The Blackhawks had been in this position beforetrying to hang on in the third period with chaos swirling around them.
In the recent West Coast road trip, the Hawks faced that situation in every game. And three times, they had watched the lead disappear and had to settle for a tie.
Saturday night, however, they held on just long enough to walk away with a 3-2 victory over the Central Division-leading Blues.
"We said after the second period that these are the games we have to win on the road," forward Mark Bell said.
After the second period the Hawks led 3-1 on three unanswered goals by Nathan Dempsey, Steve Sullivan and Travis Moen.
But with the Hawks seemingly in control midway through the third period and on a power play, defenseman Alexander Karpovtsev coughed the puck up with no pressure on him and Dallas Drake whipped a shot past Jocelyn Thibault to make it 3-2 with an eternitymore than 10 minutesremaining.
Deja vu all over again?
"In the back of your mind, you feel that," defenseman Jon Klemm said. "Until that point, we were in control of the hockey game."
Given new life, the Blues swarmed the final 10 minutes, when a majority of their 16 third-period shots came.
"That could have been a bad goal for us," Thibault said. "The crowd was out of it and [the Blues] weren't that into it."
The victory came after the Hawks fell behind in the first period on a shot by St. Louis' Eric Nickulas that hit Klemm in the knee, changed directions and went through Thibault's pads.
"That's not the way to start a game," Thibault said.
The Hawks got a deflected goal of their own early in the second when Dempsey's shot hit the skate of Alexander Khavanov and went past Chris Osgood. It was the first of three straight Hawks goals in the period.
Sullivan scored on the power play to give the Hawks the lead, and Moen jumped on a rebound and slid a shot past Osgood for his first NHL goalwhich ended up being the game-winner.
"It's pretty exciting," Moen said. "It's not my role to score goals."
On a team that will take goals anywhere it can find them, Moen jumping out of character was certainly welcome.
Despite seemingly swimming upstream since the start of the season, the Hawks find themselves just two points out of the lead in the Central Division as the second month of the season begins.
"We've had to suck it up," coach Brian Sutter said.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun