Ladd guarantees monster effort

RANDY SPORTAK, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

CHICAGO -- Andrew Ladd was given the chance to call his shot.

The opportunity was laid before the Chicago Blackhawks forward.

A sleep removed from the 3-2 overtime loss that has the Blackhawks trailing the Detroit Red Wings two-games-to-none in the Western Conference final, Ladd was asked yesterday if he wanted to pull a Mark Messier.

Would he guarantee a win when the series begins tomorrow?

"No," he replied.

"But I can guarantee a very good effort from us."

Nobody should doubt that.

Not with the way the Blackhawks have performed in the playoffs.

Not even after watching them try going toe-to-toe with the Red Wings back in Motown.

But will it be enough?

Probably for a win or two in the best-of-seven series.

Probably not to advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

The Blackhawks have likely seen their best chance to win this series come and go with their losses in Detroit.

They stormed out of the blocks in the opener, nabbed a 1-0 lead, but couldn't come up with more offence to make it too hard for the Red Wings to recover and fell 5-2.

In Tuesday's overtime defeat, they played a very strong game, again opened the scoring, outplayed the defending Stanley Cup champs for big parts of the game and forced overtime.

But still ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard.

Were they perfect games by the Blackhawks? No.

Were they realistically close to it considering how good the Red Wings are? Yes.

That's why it's hard to imagine they can win four of five to knock off Detroit.

"I believe we have to win the next game. That's what we're looking at," said head coach Joel Quenneville.

"That's what we're looking forward to. We get some momentum. Let's play it one game at a time."

The extra day between games will give the older Wings a chance to rejuvenate their muscles. It gives the younger Blackhawks a chance to rejuvenate and do their best to regroup, but time will tell whether it's enough.

"You don't want to panic," said Ladd, who won a Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. "Every team that goes through runs, they have a little adversity to face. I know in Carolina, our first round against Montreal the year we won, we lost our first two games at home and ended up winning that series in six.

"All you can do is focus on Game 3. I guess that's the message we're going to try to get across, the importance of that game. We're coming home in front of a great crowd, try to use that to our advantage."


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