Thursday, May 29, 2014
Hawks looking at just one game again
By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks hit reset before boarding a plane for Los Angeles on Thursday.
Less than 24 hours after winning a dramatic, double-overtime Game 5 to fend off elimination against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals, the Blackhawks are back to the same small-picture mindset they used the day before. The only difference is they're down 3-2 instead of 3-1 in the series.
Jonathan Toews says the Hawks are "back on the horse" after winning Game 5.
"We just have to win one game and that game's [Friday] night," Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said before leaving for Los Angeles on Thursday. "We're not worried about more than that. The game we played as a team last night gave us that good feeling again. As far as I'm concerned, we're back on the horse. We're excited to play again [Friday] night.
"You have to have that desperation. We showed it last night, but at the same time, we've tried to remind ourselves that the pressure is on them, and that's the way it's going to be the rest of this series. We're just going to keep fighting to stay alive."
The Blackhawks had to work hard to give their season a pulse on Wednesday. They relinquished a two-goal first-period lead by allowing three consecutive goals and faced a 4-3 deficit to begin the third period.
The Blackhawks came together at that point. Ben Smith tied the game off a Brandon Saad rebound at 1:17 of the third period. Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford didn't allow another goal. They killed a power play. They withstood the Kings' many rush attacks in overtime. In the end, Saad connected with Michal Handzus going to the net, and Handzus finished off the Kings with a backhanded shot in double overtime.
"It all comes from the character in the room and the personality from our team that there's always been belief," Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival said. "We know we have the right tools on our team to do anything. We believe in ourselves, and even though we have our backs against the wall there was never anything short of belief."
The Blackhawks now believe they can do something they haven't done all series -- win in Los Angeles. The Kings won Games 3 and 4 at the Staples Center, outscoring the Blackhawks 9-5 in the two games. They held the Blackhawks without a goal on seven power plays and were 3-for-6 on power plays.
"We obviously have to go in and win," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Six periods, had two good periods a game and did good things. But the thing we have to shore up are the goals we're giving up. That's the area we have to tighten up, and make sure those little details where it's a puck hanging around our net or off the rush, make sure we're cleaner."
Saad plans to take a relaxed approach into Game 6 despite knowing what is at stake.
"It's a lot of pressure, but at the same time, you try to relax and take it like any other game, because anytime you think too much into the future, it tends to hinder your game," Saad said. "So I think staying relaxed and having fun and playing the game, that's when you're at your best."