Hawks know final victory will be toughest one to get
BY MARK LAZERUS firstname.lastname@example.org June 23, 2013 7:10PM
- Hawks expect Jonathan Toews to play in Game 6
- A feeling of deja vu for Patrick Kane
- Bruins say center Patrice Bergeron day-to-day
- Bruins need slumping Brad Marchand to find his game
- MORRISSEY: Can Jonny come out to play?
- VIDEO: Patrick Kane after his two-goal performance in Game 5
- VIDEO: Duncan Keith on mixing it up with Bruins’ Chara
- VIDEO: Blackhawks’ Patrick Kane after his two-goal performance in Game 5
- VIDEO: Blackhawks’ Bryan Bickell on neutralizing Bruins’ Chara
Updated: July 25, 2013 6:38AM
BOSTON — The clichés and stock answers began immediately Saturday night. There was no time to stop and think for a moment, to reflect on the magnitude of what the Blackhawks just had done and what they can do Monday night. There was some sleep to get, a flight to catch, a game to play. Just another game, they said, same as the 70 games that came before.
‘‘I’m sure guys are going to think about it, yeah,’’ defenseman Brent Seabrook said. ‘‘It’s the Stanley Cup.’’
The Stanley Cup will be at TD Garden on Monday. And by the end of the night — or perhaps a bit into Tuesday morning, given how tight this Stanley Cup Final has been — the Hawks might be hoisting the holy grail of hockey above their heads for the second time in four seasons. The Boston Bruins will be playing to extend their season; the Hawks will be playing to end it.
Keeping a level head, keeping emotions in check and keeping your focus on a run-of-the-mill first-period shift in that situation are never easy. The Hawks know this. They were in the same position in 2010, heading to Philadelphia with a 3-2 series lead.
‘‘Your mind will be racing, obviously,’’ winger Patrick Sharp said. ‘‘You do the best you can to block out what’s happening. It’s almost impossible to do that, but we’ve done a good job of maintaining
focus and playing Blackhawks hockey from start to finish, really, from Game 1 of the regular season. We know what our goal is, we know how close we are, but we can’t change our approach in any way.’’
That focus and closing ability has been a hallmark of this Hawks team. Since that 2010 postseason, the Hawks are 6-1 when they can close out a series and the opponent can’t (in other words, non-Game 7s).
They’re 20-6 in Games 4-7 overall. They get better when the stakes
‘‘We know the situation, but we’re not going to get ahead of ourselves,’’ defenseman Duncan Keith said. ‘‘We know there is a lot of work to do and a lot of sacrifice here to be made still.’’
Having been through so many close-out games surely helps. But the Bruins have been through this before, too. Two springs ago, the Bruins came home trailing 3-2 to the Vancouver Canucks. Two victories by a combined score of 9-2 later, and the Bruins were parading the Stanley Cup around Rogers Arena as Vancouver burned.
These are the same Bruins that rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final 10 minutes of the third period of Game 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round this season. The same Bruins who won Game 2 of the Final despite being nearly blown out of the United Center in the first period. The same Bruins who, like the Hawks, have invaluable championship experience and confidence in the face of adversity.
‘‘We’re playing a team that has been in much worse situations than they’re in right now and has handled it well,’’ Sharp said. ‘‘It’s tough to win that last game, especially with the Cup on the line.’’
Said Bruins center David Krejci:
‘‘We have to play like there’s no
If the Hawks have their way, there won’t be. They’re one victory away from the Cup, one victory away from a second championship in four years, one victory away from immortality.
But both these teams know all too well that there’s no more difficult victory to get.
‘‘We all know that the fourth game is the hardest to get, and we’re going to make it as hard as we can,’’ Bruins winger Nathan Horton said. ‘‘We’re not done yet.’’