Blackhawks

Blackhawks' confidence 'unwavering' when facing elimination

Blackhawks' confidence 'unwavering' when facing elimination

The Blackhawks have played in so many big games over the last seven years that's it's too many to count. 

That will happen when you win three Stanley Cups in six years, and appear in five Conference Finals since 2009.

It's the primary reason why their confidence hasn't fluctuated despite falling into a 3-1 series hole, which was cut to 3-2 following Thursday's double-overtime 4-3 victory against the St. Louis Blues.

"We love to play these kind of games, we have a lot of players that have been a part of it before and (are) very comfortable with playing these types of games," Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "We have a lot of players that want the puck in big moments and do something good with it.

"We're excited. This is the most fun part about hockey, playing in these eliminating games. Obviously you want to be on the other side of it, but it's still a lot of fun to play in and have your backs against the wall and know if you lose, you're out.

"That's when you have to respond and play your best hockey and I think that's a really strong asset of our team to do that."

Dale Weise, who was acquired at the trade deadline from Montreal and scored two playoff overtime goals for the Canadiens last spring, felt those vibes immediately when he joined the Blackhawks.

But he noticed it even before he got there.

"I think watching them the last couple of years as just a fan of this team, you can just see the resilience that they have," he said. "There never seems to be any panic, and I think just being a part of it now you see why they've had so much success. There's just an unwavering confidence about the team, no matter what the score is, time of the game; there's just no panic.

"They've got some great leaders in this locker room that kind of step up and say things when they need to and I think that just kind of radiates throughout the whole locker room and everybody becomes a part of it."

It was certainly evident in Game 4.

Marian Hossa scored his first goal of the series to put the Blackhawks on the board first.

Duncan Keith logged exactly 42 minutes of ice time, which doesn't surprise anyone in Chicago.

Corey Crawford registered 43 saves, more than half of them in the third period and overtime, where the Blackhawks were outshot 26-15.

Patrick Kane stepped up like he often does in crucial moments, potting his fifth career playoff overtime goal, which is tied for third-most in NHL history. 

The stars delivered when called upon with their season on the line, and knowing you have those types of players on your side in key moments exudes confidence that trickles up and down the roster.

"I think we've been in a lot of different situations over the years," Kane said. "It obviously helps to have that experience, knowledge of maybe what's going to happen. We've been in these situations before, whether we've been down in a series or we have to win that one game to get ourselves back into it.

"We just try to focus on that one game and I think it's the same thing for Game 6."

Instant reaction: Blackhawks squander late lead, fall to Golden Knights in shootout

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USA Today

Instant reaction: Blackhawks squander late lead, fall to Golden Knights in shootout

FINAL SCORE:

Golden Knights 2, Blackhawks 1 (SO)

Snap judgments:

— The Blackhawks played a Golden Knights team that was on the second of a back-to-back and coming off an ugly 6-2 loss in Philadelphia on Monday. They knew the visiting team would come in desperate and it was an even battle, except in the third period when the Golden Knights took control and tied it up at 1-1 with 1:33 left in regulation.

— It took just two games for Kirby Dach to score his first career NHL goal, which will be the first of many. Olli Maatta's pass went off Dach's leg and in, to which Dach said on NBC Sports Chicago during first intermission: "It wasn't the prettiest goal, but I'll take it."

— This was a straight goaltending battle between two of the league's best in Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner. Fleury was coming off a 29-save shutout against Pittsburgh on Saturday and he followed that up by stopping 31 of 32 shots for a save percentage of .969 against the Blackhawks. Lehner was just as good, if not better, turning aside 33 of 34 shots for a save percentage of .971. He's now 1-0-2 on the season .

Three stars:

1. Golden Knights G Marc-Andre Fleury — Stopped 31 of 32 shots for .969 save percentage

2. Blackhawks C Kirby Dach — First career NHL goal

3. Blackhawks G Robin Lehner — Stopped 33 of 34 shots for .971 save percentage

Must-see highlights:

— Dach's first career NHL goal

— Lehner's desperation save in overtime

What's next:

The Blackhawks host the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. CT on NBC Sports Chicago.

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Blackhawks make minor league trade with Panthers, acquire defenseman Ian McCoshen

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USA Today

Blackhawks make minor league trade with Panthers, acquire defenseman Ian McCoshen

The Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Ian McCoshen from the Florida Panthers in exchange for forward prospect Aleksi Saarela, the team announced Tuesday. He will report to the Rockford IceHogs of the American Hockey League.

McCoshen is on a one-year contract that runs through the end of the 2019-20 season. His cap hit is $700,000 and he's set to become a restricted free agent.

Originally drafted by the Panthers in the second round (No. 31 overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft, McCoshen has appeared in 60 career NHL games and has seven points (four goals, three assists) and an ice time average of 14:26 per game. He has four assists in seven games with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the AHL this season.

The motive behind the move appears to be giving each player a fresh start elsewhere, although Saarela's time with the Blackhawks was short-lived. He was acquired by the Blackhawks in June, along with Calvin de Haan, for goaltender Anton Forsberg and defenseman Gustav Forsling and had one assist in five games with the Rockford IceHogs.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.