The Blackhawks played their best game of this first round on Saturday night. They're mad that they waited until Game 5 to finally bring it together as a team. That's the bad news.
The good news is that they have been playing a little better in each and every game of this series. Some might call it the 'desperation factor' that has improved their play of late. I liken it to hanging by your fingers on a window ledge with a Coyote gnawing at your knuckles. The Hawks know there are no do-overs and if they let up just a bit, they'll lose their grip and fall out of this series.
But these kind of situations get your attention and get you focused. Knowing that any mistake you make on the ice might send you home for the summer is pretty sobering. There's a focus and purpose to Chicago's game that wasn't there just a couple of games ago.
Enthusiasm and energy have replaced doom and gloom. A lot of experts were looking to the core when Chicago went down 3-1 in the series. And let's face it, to whom much is given, much is expected. So without Marian Hossa, the top-3 in Chicago -- Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp -- had combined for just two goals in the first four games. But to be fair, the top-3 for Phoenix -- Radim Vrbata, Ray Whitney and Shane Doan -- had combined for the same number of goals. This has been a series that has been decided in the trenches and won with the lunchpail crew. Michael Frolik, Bryan Bickell, Antoine Vermette and Mikkel Boedker are names you don't associate with postseason scoring.
Fortunately for the Blackhawks a lot of that changed when Toews decided to make sure he got his team to play another game. So now, heading into Game 6, the Blackhawks just got a couple of more fingers back on that window ledge.