Blackhawks

Blackhawks

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."