We feel like we deserve to be where we are Jonathan Toews the Blackhawks captain said Tuesday. Something about playing a Game 7 you want to go out there and feel like every shift every chance you get there might be an opportunity to change the game in favor of your team.
I mean to look at the attitude we ve had over the last couple of games and where we were just a few days ago it s a huge credit to the guys for keeping their heads up and staying loose and being positive.
Game 7 is a fitting conclusion to the long running Original Six rivalry. The Red Wings are moving to the Eastern Conference next season and Chicago will remain in the West changing any future meetings to a Stanley Cup finals encounter.
This is only the second time in Blackhawks history which dates to the founding of the N.H.L. in 1926 that they have forced a Game 7 after trailing 3 1. The first time was in 2011 when the Blackhawks recovered against the Vancouver Canucks only to lose Game 7 in overtime 2 1 at Vancouver. Wednesday s Game 7 is also the first between the Blackhawks and the Red Wings since 1965 which Chicago won 4 2 in Detroit.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau 48 teams have recovered from 3 1 series deficits and half went on to win Game 7.
Red Wings Coach Mike Babcock put a positive spin on the game despite his team s deflating two game slide.
If I would ve told Detroit and Michigan we would play in Chicago in Game 7 I think everybody would be excited about that Babcock said. I love Game 7 s. We ve got a chance to push them out of the playoffs. It should be a lot of fun.
The Blackhawks recovery reflects what made them the top team in the regular season. Stars such as Toews and Marian Hossa regained their scoring touches Corey Crawford has been mostly steady in goal and supporting players like Bryan Bickell Michal Handzus and Michael Frolik have provided timely help.
In a sweeping change of momentum the Red Wings gave up three goals in the third period of Game 6. The period has been a weakness for the Red Wings who have allowed 20 goals in 13 playoff games. And the Blackhawks had not shown an ability to win games in the third during this playoff run. Game 6 was their first win in four games when trailing entering the final period.
They re a good team let s get the facts straight Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard said. They weren t going to go away quietly. But now it s down to one game. Game 7 you dream about winning these when you re a kid.
Bickell a left wing has been a particularly potent force for the Blackhawks providing a physical presence that agitates the Red Wings as well as scoring. He has five goals in the playoffs and has been a tough presence for the Red Wings to deal with.
He s strong and tough and he is always working said Handzus who tied Game 6 at 2 2 early in the third period. That s what we do when we are good. Everybody is doing that. We get help from everybody.
Frolik supplied the game winner off a third period penalty shot flicking a backhand over Howard s left shoulder for a 4 2 lead.
I think the room still always believed in the big picture and we knew it was possible for us to come back Frolik said. We still believe in each other and I think we show good character now. We ve tied up this series now we have to prepare for a huge game at home.