- Scott Powers, Reporter
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From youngsters to veterans, the Blackhawks delivered positive messages from all ends of their locker room Monday as they trailed 2-1 during the second intermission and were one period from being eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs. But Handzus expected that.
What truly mattered to Handzus during that intermission was the overwhelming feeling of confidence shared by him and his teammates that they still had some fight in them and they weren't going to bow out.
"If you don't believe, there's no way you can go out there and win it," Handzus said. "Everybody got in their mind that we're going to win the game. That's what we did, and we won."
The Blackhawks' mindset was put into action in the third period as they scored three consecutive goals and shocked the Red Wings and their home crowd with a 4-3 victory, rallying from a 3-1 series deficit to tie it and force a Game 7 on Wednesday in Chicago.
"I commend the guys for their will," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
Handzus got the comeback started by finding open space in the right circle and beating Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard into the left corner of the net 51 seconds into the period to tie the game at 2-all.
It would be just the start.
Bryan Bickell, who is likely making himself a lot of money on the free-agent market, stepped up next for the Blackhawks. He scored his fifth playoff goal of the season when he knocked in a rebound at 5:48.
Finally, it was Michael Frolik, another unsung hero, who drew a penalty shot and then beat Howard on the ensuing opportunity to put the Blackhawks ahead 4-2 at 9:43.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews believed it was something about being on the brink of elimination that drove his team back in the third period.
"We definitely realized again it was a do-or-die situation," Toews said. "We played our best hockey when we're very conscious of that. It was a tough game.
"Obviously it was the toughest game of the series, especially when they went 2-1. They were flying. They had the crowd going. Credit to our guys not [being] fazed by that; [they] hung in there. It was a huge third period by everybody. Had a couple power plays, a couple penalty kills, big saves by [Corey Crawford] in the third. Everybody bounced back, and we found a way."
As much as the Blackhawks enjoyed their comeback victory, their attention quickly shifted to the task still at hand -- winning Game 7. Handzus said he believes the formula to winning again is no different than in Game 5 or Game 6.
"We know we got to put everything on the line," Handzus said. "That's the bottom line. That's what we did. Now we have to put that on the line again in Game 7."