ST. LOUIS -- Blues coach Ken Hitchcock was one prescient dude just hours before his team faced the Blackhawks for the second time in about 36 hours.
"I would say the order of the day would be chaos," he predicted. "Just prepare to play in the chaos."
Boy, oh boy, did Hitchcock make the right call there. Because as impossible as it was to imagine a hockey game being any more chaotic than Thursday's three-overtime thriller, won 4-3 by the Blues … well, Saturday's overtime win by the Blues, also by a 4-3 margin, absolutely topped it.
From the Blues taking an early 2-0 lead on Kevin Shattenkirk's goal with 1.6 seconds remaining in the first period, to defensemen Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook and Michal Rozsival leading a stirring comeback, giving the Hawks a 3-2 lead in the third …
From Seabrook's huge hit on David Backes -- one that may result in suspension -- that kept the Blues on the power play for the last five minutes of regulation … to those final frenzied moments that ended with Vladimir Tarasenko tying the game with 6.4 seconds left.
And, finally, to Barret Jackman's shot trickling past Corey Crawford for the game-winner 5:50 into overtime. It was simply déjà vu all over again for the Hawks, but this one stung even more.
That's because the defending champs came into the game loaded with confidence and looking to leave town with the series tied but instead find themselves down 2-0 heading into Game 3 on Monday at the United Center.
"We did a great job penalty killing, an outstanding job, and you're right there, six seconds away," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "The other game was tough -- it was tough (having it tied up) with a buck and change left … but tonight was brutal."
And no one took it harder than Crawford.
"We just didn't get some bounces tonight," he said in barely a whisper. "We made some great plays on the PK. It's frustrating, but, whatever, I'm not going to cry about it."
Nor is the veteran Keith, who has experienced all the highs and lows a playoff series can deal out.
"My heart's still kicking; it's not broken, that's for sure," Keith said. "It's just frustrating the second game in a row we had the lead with a minute, two minutes to go, and you can't close it out.
"That's what's really frustrating."
There won't be much time to stew, though, because after a day off Sunday, the combatants will be right back at it Monday, with plenty on the line -- especially for the Hawks.
"It's hard to think about what could have been these last two games, but what are you going to do?" Jonathan Toews said. "We've got a great opportunity to go home and turn this thing around in our own building, and take that momentum and find a way to not let it go."