Blackhawks

Blackhawks' mantra: Be better in Game 5

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Blackhawks' mantra: Be better in Game 5

The Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks unintentionally repeated their Game 2 pattern in Game 4: a multi-overtime game, a flight out within 10 hours of that game’s end and a quick prep for the next one.

“Just mentally, get ready,” Bryan Bickell said before he and the Blackhawks headed back to Anaheim for Game 5, which comes Monday night at the Honda Center. “We didn’t skate, won’t skate (Monday morning), so just prepare ourselves for that game. The first period’s going to be crucial, dictate the pace is what we want to do. Mentally, I think, is the biggest thing.”

The Blackhawks have won the triple- and double-overtime games in this series, the latter a 5-4 decision on Saturday that tied this Western Conference Final series at 2-2. One difference from Game 3 to Game 5: Don’t count on any lineup changes. Coach Joel Quenneville said changes are “not likely.” Defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk, who started skating again on Friday and could return to the postseason at some point, is out for Game 5. He did not make the trip to Anaheim.

Now the Blackhawks have to be ready for a pushback from the Ducks, who are 2-0 this postseason following an overtime loss.

“We're going to go out and look to have a good Game 5,” Brent Seabrook said. “I think ... Game 3 was it? It was a tight game. It could have gone either way. We were one post away from tying that and going into an overtime again.”

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Still, the Blackhawks have done well in this scenario: Under Quenneville, they are 16-0 in games after a series is tied 2-2 (8-0 on the road and 8-0 at home). Keeping up a stat like that isn’t easy, but the Blackhawks have a way of getting stronger as a series progresses.  

“Absolutely it's a good team we're playing. They play hard. These games, they're long games, they're hard games, even if it goes 60,” Quenneville said of the Ducks. “At the same time we feel we have to get better in series and progress to go through it. One thing is, we find a way to get better each and every game. We know we needed our best game last night, and I thought we had a hell of a game last night. We're going to need a better game in Game 5 going into their building. That's the mindset.”

This series is as tight as most expected it to be: Three games have been decided by just one goal, two of those games needing overtimes. They’ve got the chance to steal another one in Anaheim, but that depends on how quickly they can reset after another long night’s work.

“We’ve got to come out with a good effort off the start,” Seabrook said. “I think our starts have been key. When we start well, we usually give ourselves a chance to have a good game and get a win. That's going to be tomorrow's theme, I'm sure: getting off to a good start and trying to do some good things in a hostile building in Anaheim.”

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

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USA TODAY

Blackhawks release 2018-19 schedule

Uncap those markers and start circling your calendars, Blackhawks fans. The 2018-19 season is officially out.

The Blackhawks will kick off their 91st campaign in franchise history with a road contest against the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 4 at 6:30 p.m. The home opener is set for Oct. 7, with an Original Six matchup against the Toronto Maple Leafs at 6 p.m.

The Blackhawks have 14 back-to-back games, and the longest road trip of the season is three, which takes place five times over the course of the season; the longest homestand is four games, from Dec. 12-18.

The biggest highlight of the season will be the Original Six Winter Classic Showdown between the Blackhawks and Boston Bruins on Jan. 1 at Notre Dame Stadium. It will be the sixth outdoor appearance for Chicago, and fourth in the Winter Classic.

The Blackhawks will also square off with the defending champion Washington Capitals on Nov. 21 at 6 p.m., and welcome them to Chicago on Jan. 20, set for NBC's Game of the Week at 11:30 a.m.

Here's a look at the full schedule:

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman: 'We expect Corey to be back'

Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman said that the team expects goalie Corey Crawford to be back next season around training camp. Bowman also mentioned that Crawford might speak about his status himself during the Blackhawks Convention.

“What I said at the end of the year was still the case now, which is we expect Corey to be back,” Bowman said in a Thursday afternoon conference call. “We don’t have any reason to think that’s not going to happen.”

According to Bowman, Blackhawks players, including Crawford, already have their eyes set on next season.

“At this point in the summer, all the players are preparing for next season,” Bowman said. “Corey’s in that same preparation mode.”

Crawford is nursing what has been labeled an upper-body injury by the team. The two-time Stanley Cup winner was put on the shelf for the rest of the season back in late December, and he has not seen the ice since he skated in a February practice.

“Nothing has changed,” Bowman said. “We expect him to be back and ready to go in training camp.”

The Blackhawks have chosen to keep any groundbreaking news with Crawford under wraps, which the organization has done with other player injuries in the past. Bowman spoke about his vagueness in this situation.

“We’ve never gone into specifics about injuries,” Bowman said. “I realize this probably gets more attention because he’s our starting goalie and he won the Stanley Cup.”

Fans will have to take a wait-and-see approach, because it is unlikely that there will be a significant update regarding Crawford’s health before the season gets closer to its start.

Last season, Crawford only appeared in 28 games, posting a record of 16-9 with 782 saves before going down for the rest of the year.