ST. LOUIS — The looks on the faces said it all: this one hurt, and it hurt badly.
The Chicago Blackhawks were just under seven seconds away from tying their first-round series with the St. Louis Blues but were denied again, first on a 6-on-4 goal and then an early overtime score. Now, it’s back to Chicago, facing Game 3 and mired in an 0-2 series hole.
Postseason adversity isn’t new for the Blackhawks. They dealt with it when they fell behind to the Detroit Red Wings 3-1 in the second round last season and came back to win that series. They faced it against Vancouver in the spring of 2011, erasing an 0-3 series deficit and nearly knocking off the Canucks in Game 7.
Now they’ll have to deal with it again, and the Blackhawks say they will.
“We’re a resilient group,” said Brent Seabrook, who may be watching from the sidelines if the league disciplines him for his high hit on David Backes on Saturday. “We like our team and I think it’s been a pretty tight series. It could have gone either way, obviously. I think they’ve scored in the last (seven) seconds tonight, and can’t remember what it was the first game. But it’s been a close series, and I think anything can happen. It’s still up for grabs.”
Jonathan Toews agreed.
“It’s hard to think about what could have been these last two games, but what are you going to do? We’ve got a great opportunity to go home and turn this thing around in our own building, and take that momentum and find a way to not let it go,” Toews said. “We’ve had it late in the last couple games and we gave it up, (and they) come back and score in overtime, so it’s not a good feeling. But like we did before tonight, we put the last one behind us and we move on to the next one. It’s as simple as that. That’s all we can do.”
When they were down to Detroit last spring, the Blackhawks had a players meeting. They gave pep talks, they hashed things out and they calmed each other down. Toews, who was visibly frustrated through that series’ early games, calmed and moved forward. So did the rest of the Blackhawks.
This one, however, is going to be a tough one. They dropped two games in heartbreaking fashion. They could be minus Seabrook; the hit was reviewed and Seabrook will have a phone hearing with the league on Sunday. The Blues are feeling confident and strong. The Blackhawks need to even the series at the United Center and then try to come back to a Scottrade Center that’s been a house of horrors for them in the regular season and playoffs.
So what do the Blackhawks do now?
“Get some rest, try to forget about that, try not to be frustrated about it,” Corey Crawford said. “That first shift of the next game is the most important thing right now.”