- Scott Powers, ESPN Staff Writer
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CHICAGO -- No team is more up to date on what it's like to be down 3-1 in a series and still cling to the hope of rallying back than the Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks went through that a round ago and fought back from a 3-1 deficit to knock off the Detroit Red Wings in the Western Conference semifinals.
It's with that recent experience the Blackhawks said Friday that they understand how dangerous the Los Angeles Kings still can be despite the Blackhawks' holding a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. The Blackhawks will have a chance to close out the Kings in Game 5 at the United Center on Saturday.
"We were on the other end of this, so we know what they're thinking," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said at Signature Flight Support on Friday. "We know this is not over. This is a really, really good team. We know we said it last night, too; we don't want to go back to L.A. That's a tough place to play and win games. Once again, we have to bring our best performance and best effort to win a game."
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said the team has been trying to use some reverse psychology in the Kings series.
"I think we just go into [Saturday's] game with the mindset that we're down 3-1," Toews said. "That's what we said the last couple games in L.A. Obviously, being up 2-0 and 2-1, you know the other team is going to come at you hard.
"But it's up to you to motivate yourself and try to put yourself in the position where you feel like you're in a seventh game or your back's up against the wall. I think that's when you play with the most desperation. We did that [in Game 4.] We know we have to raise our level even more [in Game 5.] We'll go forward with that mentality."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville's focus is on his team coming prepared to play, unlike in its loss in Game 3. Aside from that one game, he has been pleased with what the Blackhawks have done throughout the series. He was especially happy with their 3-2 road in Game 4 on Thursday. It was the first time the Kings, who are the defending Stanley Cup champions, lost at home in the playoffs this season.
"We're disappointed the way we went into Game 3," Quenneville said. "We want to make sure that everybody is going to be aware that [Saturday's game is] going to be a heck of a battle and let's get ready for the start. And knowing they're the Cup champs for a reason, let's go do what we have to do. But Games 1, 2 and 4 are the way we have to play and begin and finish like that. There's been a lot of good things in those games, but it was nice to go in there and win a game in their building."