Duncan Keith on setting up the game-winning goal in OT for Jonathan Toews.

ST. LOUIS — Andrew Shaw still loves shin pads.

The forward's equipment played a huge role in a thrilling Blackhawks overtime victory Friday night and the defending Stanley Cup champions are one victory from dispatching the Blues in their first round NHL playoff series after a heart-thumping 3-2 victory in Game 5 at the Scottrade Center.

Jonathan Toews scooped up a pass from Duncan Keith — that first deflected off Shaw's shin pad — raced in on Blues goaltender Ryan Miller on a breakaway and tucked in a backhand shot at the 7-minute, 36 second mark of overtime to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series that resumes Sunday at the United Center.

The fortuitous deflection off Shaw's shin pad was reminiscent of Game 1 of the 2013 Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins when the winning goal in triple overtime deflected off Shaw's shin and into the net. During that raucous celebration, Shaw yelled "I love shin pads!"

The affection remains.

"Duncan fired it down, it hit my leg and went to Johnny — I guess the shin-pad luck is back," Shaw said Friday night. "It has done a lot for me in my career so I owe it a lot."

Said Toews with a hearty laugh: "Another Andrew Shaw shin-pad moment. However it worked out, it's a nice play by Duncan. He knew there was someone down ice and he just tossed it up the ice and it worked out great."

Things are working out great for the Hawks after they trailed 2-0 in the series before roaring back to take a 3-2 advantage with their first victory in St. Louis this season. They had dropped five in a row.

"It's huge momentum for us winning in this building and coming home we have a chance to close it," said Hawks winger Marian Hossa, who opened the scoring in Game 5 with his first goal of the series. "It's going to be hard (in Game 6) but we have the momentum so we have to keep it."

Fingernails are gnawed to the quick as the teams went to overtime for the fourth time in the five games.

"You have to give the Blues a lot of credit," Keith said. "(These) could go either way, all the games. Both teams have had chances. They had a chance coming down, (David) Backes with a great chance, and then all of a sudden we get it out of the zone, get a chance and we finish it. It's just two good teams going at it."

Ben Smith also scored for the Hawks and Corey Crawford made 27 saves, some of them in spectacular fashion late in regulation and overtime.

T.J. Oshie and Alex Pietrangelo scored for the Blues but it wasn't enough as Toews stunned the crowd of 19,796.

The return of Backes to the lineup after the captain missed Games 3 and 4 with an upper-body injury suffered from an illegal hit by the Hawks' Brent Seabrook in Game 2 bolstered the Blues.

Game 5 was another chapter in what is becoming an epic series between the Central Division rivals.

"I don't think anybody expected anything less," Blues defenseman Barret Jackman said. "The level of hockey that has been played, they're all one-goal games and are going right down to the final buzzer. Four overtime games is unlike anything I've ever seen. Both teams are battling hard."

The Hawks will look to close it out Sunday at the United Center, where they prevailed in Games 3 and 4.

"We know they are going to come out harder than ever," Shaw said. "We have to match that intensity, stay focused and look to close them out."

ckuc@tribune.com

Twitter @ChrisKuc