CHICAGO – When the Chicago Blackhawks were in deep trouble in the second round of the playoffs, they used desperation to their advantage and pulled off a big comeback in an already impressive season.
After the Blackhawks lost top defenseman Duncan Keith to a suspension before Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, Chicago didn’t let the Los Angeles Kings get even, despite their dominant home record.
Now that the top-seeded Blackhawks are just one win away from reaching the Stanley Cup finals, they want to play with the same sense of urgency when they hit the ice at home for Game 5 on Saturday night.
“I think we can just go into (Saturday’s) game with the mindset that we’re down 3-1,” Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said Friday.
The Kings need three straight victories against the NHL’s top-seeded team to prolong their title defense, but they won’t have to look very far for inspiration.
“You look at the opponent we’re playing. They were in the exact same situation and they came out of it in the last round,” Kings defenseman Robyn Regehr said. “It’s something that is very doable..”
Chicago dropped three of the first four games in the second round against Detroit, then returned home and beat the Red Wings 4-1 in Game 5. The momentum shifted to the Blackhawks, who earned two more victories to advance.
That is one big reason why the Blackhawks are hoping to finish off the Kings in Game 5 and avoid another trip to Los Angeles, where the Kings are 8-1 during this year’s playoffs.
“We were on the other end of this so we kind of know what they’re thinking,” Chicago defenseman Johnny Oduya said. “We know this is not over. This is a really, really good team and we know — said it last night, too — we don’t want to go back to L.A. That’s a tough place to play.”