BOSTON – Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane are two who have been here before: a Game 6 looming, one that, with a victory, could mean another Stanley Cup.
About half of the Chicago Blackhawks remember that feeling in June of 2010, when they took a 3-2 Stanley Cup Final lead over the Philadelphia Flyers, then claimed the Cup on visiting ice. They could do that again here tomorrow night, when they face the Boston Bruins in Game 6. Patrick Kane remembers everything from that magical 2010 run. The thought has occurred to him of what could be again -– so has the wariness.
“You know, it's a similar feeling, especially having the series tied 2-2, taking Game 5 at home and coming on the road for Game 6. But you've got to be careful. You saw a couple years ago when Boston was down 3-2 and they won at home (in Game 6) and then won Game 7 in Vancouver. We know this team is capable of coming back. For us, I know it's a big game, but you want to play it like it's any other game. Play the way we have all season, and try to pull one out here on the road.”
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Not a bad plan to follow, considering the results. As bad as the Blackhawks played here in Game 3 they were that much better (at least offensively) in Game 4, and got the victory to show for it. They tightened things up defensively in Game 5, allowing just one to the Bruins in the third period.
Game 6 is one more challenge, and the Blackhawks have handled just about all of them well this postseason.
“We're all looking forward to it,” said Niklas Hjalmarsson. “It's going to be a great challenge, it's going to be a great atmosphere, and this is the type of game you want to play (in). This is the type of game where you want to perform and have a good game.”
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But the Bruins are in that nothing-to-lose mode that gets talked about so much when a team is facing elimination, and they realize that has to come through in their game.
“I mean, we’re very desperate now,” forward Brad Marchand said. “We’ve got to make sure we realize what’s on the line. We don’t want to lose this opportunity. It could never come again, so we’re going to come out very hard tomorrow.”
This series has had it all: great scoring, goaltending, defense, hits and drama. And by drama we mean good drama, borne out of the tremendous hockey each team has displayed thus far. Game 6 promises to bring more of everything. The Blackhawks hope it brings another total-team outing and another Cup.
“It's going to be tough, obviously; but we've got confidence, too. We were in the same situation in 2010 and won on the road,” Hjalmarsson said. “We're obviously going to try to win the game tomorrow. We all know it's going to be the toughest game of the year, maybe in my whole career so far. It's going to take a lot for us to get away with a win here.”