Blackhawks Aim to Prove Resiliency Once Again to Turn Stanley Cup Final AroundJune 9, 2015
CHICAGO — They've done it throughout this postseason.
Heck, the Chicago Blackhawks have been doing this for years.
When things are at their bleakest, the Blackhawks have shown a nearly unwavering propensity for rising to challenges. It's one thing to have talent—it's another to have talent that answers the bell as the guillotine is about to fall on its head in the playoffs.
The Blackhawks will have to tap that well again as they trail 2-1 in the Stanley Cup Final to the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team that is no stranger to exuding resiliency of its own during tough times.
"I don't think there's one thing you can put a finger on," Brent Seabrook said Tuesday. "I think the guys in the room, we want to be out there and win. We want to be out there in those situations and play in big games.
"For whatever reason, I think we play our best games when our backs are up against the wall."
The statistics back up Seabrook.
Since coach Joel Quenneville took the job in 2008, the Blackhawks have been a force of nature late in playoff series, as noted by Mark Potash of the Chicago Sun-Times:
In 2015, the Blackhawks closed their first-round series against the Predators by winning Game 6 and rallied from down 3-2 to beat the Ducks in Games 6 and 7 of the conference final. They accomplished the latter in a rugged series that should have worn down their depleted defensive corps, yet it seemingly had no effect and shouldn't be an issue in this series.
The Lightning present a different challenge, both in roster and mental makeup.
They are the fastest, most skilled team that the Blackhawks have encountered this spring, and they have shown they too can win when the odds are against them, as evidenced by their lead in this series despite having trailed in both wins.
"From the start of the series till now, playing nine periods against each other, you certainly get a feel for how teams can play against each other," Patrick Sharp said. "We got a lot of respect for what they're capable of doing. They're dangerous in all areas.
"We heard a lot about their speed and skill, but we are seeing how well they can check and defend. We'll take today to formulate a game plan, try to execute as best we can tomorrow."
Even with their ability to reach down and find ways to win in adverse climates, the Blackhawks are now faced with a task not a single team in NHL history has mastered:
There's a first for everything, and the Blackhawks have shown they are capable of bucking the trend.
The flip side to the Lightning's penchant for rallying is the Blackhawks' ability to get the lead in all three games.
Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop is essentially playing on one leg, and if the Blackhawks replicate their Game 3 showing—in which they out-attempted the Lightning 67-51—in Game 4, there's a good chance this series will be on even footing when it returns to Florida.
Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Sharp have been non-entities in the series and Corey Crawford has been anywhere from bad to below average in his past two starts.
If one or two of those skaters begin to appear on the scoresheet and Crawford simply avoids allowing a bad goal, the Blackhawks will likely add to their postseason legend before this week is over.
But if the Lightning stay the course, the Blackhawks' dynasty will be over before it begins.
"Obviously we don't draw it up in some situations when we get down in a series," Toews said. "It's not part of the plan. But I think we have confidence when we get in those situations that we can take it one game at a time, focus on the next game, continue to put pressure on the other team.
"It happens sometimes. You're up against good teams that are working hard, doing all the right things. You're not always going to be in complete control of a series.
"We've been up in series, we've been down in some series, especially this year. Here we are down 2-1. I think we're confident we can go out there and find a way to even it up tomorrow night."
All statistics via NHL.com and Natural Stat Trick. All quotes obtained firsthand.
Dave Lozo covers the NHL for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @DaveLozo.