For the second consecutive series, the Chicago Blackhawks are trailing two games to one following a tough loss on home ice, but despite the less-than-ideal circumstances, the players are still embracing the challenge.
“It’s a challenge that we embrace and enjoy,” Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews said. “That’s the great thing about playing this time of year. There’s a lot to win or lose every night, and that’s why we play the game. It’s exciting, and if you don’t want that challenge or spotlight, you shouldn’t be here.”
Toews’ confidence isn’t misplaced. The Blackhawks are 18-8 under head coach Joel Quenneville when the team is trailing 2-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series, and they have won five times in the eight series in which they’ve faced that deficit.
“It’s not a situation that you would necessarily want to be in,” Patrick Sharp said. “But the fact that this group of players and this organization have been down this road a few times and been able to persevere is good for us. We’re going to try to draw from that experience.”
The Blackhawks have faced a 2-1 deficit once already in this postseason, losing to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 3 at the United Center during the Western Conference Final. The team ultimately came back to win that series thanks to a convincing Game 7 win on the road, and Toews credits that never-say-die attitude to the veteran voices that are such a big part of the Blackhawks’ locker room.
“Now we have that experience and realize you don’t have to ride the rollercoaster every day,” he said. “You can dig deep and bounce back after tough games. You realize that you don’t have to waste that mental energy between games, and you just make sure that you’re ready for the next one.”