Chicago Blackhawks 'confident' going into Game 6

Blackhawks Corey Crawford and Ben Smith celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Kings in...

Blackhawks Corey Crawford and Ben Smith celebrate after beating the Los Angeles Kings in double-overtime in Game 5. The two teams tangle again on Friday in L.A. (Getty Images/AFP)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 12:17 AM ET

LOS ANGELES - For all of the reasons to suggest the Chicago Blackhawks are capable of coming back on the Los Angeles Kings — Patrick Kane is looking scary again, the power play is showing life, they have momentum — the simplest remains the most plausible.

They’re the Chicago Blackhawks.

This is a team that feels entirely comfortable in rough playoff water. It has trailed or been tied after four games in eight of its last 12 series since 2010 and has a 10-2 record and two Stanley Cups that say you should never count it out.

“It’s a special group,” said Kane, who had four assists in the Hawks’ stirring 5-4 double-overtime victory in Game 5. “I think we know that in the locker room. It seems like, in a lot of games, we find ways to win whether we should or not.

“It is a great group of guys. Obviously, we have a lot of experience and know what it takes to win here. We’re very comfortable in that locker room with what’s going on.”


What’s going on is the Hawks, down 3-2 heading back to the Staples Centre, have changed the mood of the series from “they’re done,” to “you never know.”

That’s good enough for them. It means they’re still alive.

All of the qualities that make Chicago the defending champions were on display again in Game 5 and the Hawks promise they will be again Friday in Game 6.

“I’m confident that everybody knows we are able to come back in this series for sure,” said defenceman Niklas Hjalmarsson, as the Hawks get set for their 76th playoff game in the past five years. “The whole group is confident that we’re going to be able to turn this around.

“I think we’re the kind of team that, in the past and just during the regular season, when we’re down, we’re playing our best hockey.”

The Kings looked virtually unstoppable in winning Games 2, 3 and 4, scoring 15 goals and checking Chicago’s best players to a standstill. But the Hawks have finally broken free and believe, mostly because they have no other choice, that they won’t be caged again.

“Momentum is probably the most important thing in a playoff series,” said Hjalmarsson. “Once you have it you want to hold on to it as long as you can.”

There is still a Game 6 to be played, in Los Angeles, and while most credit and admire the Blackhawks’ courage and will to survive, they doubt it will be enough to beat the Kings in their own back yard.

This time, the Kings have home ice and will be just as desperate as Chicago was on Wednesday, knowing they can’t leave themselves at the mercy of what a Game 7 in enemy territory might have in store.

“Obviously, they’re really strong in their own building,” said Johnny Oduya. “We feel we have a little bit more of the momentum, but it’s going to be the toughest game of the year.

“We kind of knew starting this series that maybe we’d have to go in there and steal a game and this is the time. There’s not that much to wait for. We really have no options.”

They didn’t before Game 5, either, and it worked out for them. There’s no reason Game 6 won’t, either.

“I’ve said it numerous times,” said Oduya. “I think if you have a group like this, where you’re backed into a corner, we have certain guys who will step up and play great games. And I think that shows for a lot of character for our team.”

They’re the Chicago Blackhawks, after all.

“You know, our guys, they find ways,” said head coach Joel Quenneville. “It's a testament to their competitiveness, their will to win, overcoming a lot of hurdles and obstacles.

“(Game 5) was a great, great challenge with a great start. Having to come back in the third, winning it in dramatic fashion. It’s a big win for us.

“We still have to go win in L.A., but I’m sure we’re going to be excited about the challenge.”


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