The day after being pushed to the brink of elimination, the Blackhawks met to discuss their predicament.
Players and coaches gathered at the United Center on Friday, not to lick their wounds but to devise a plan to drag themselves out of the hole they’ve dug by falling behind the Red Wings 3-1 in the Western Conference semifinals.
“We are as upbeat as we can be,” defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “We talked about past experiences and what we can do as a group.”
There are precedents of teams rallying from down 3-1 in best-of-seven series: It has occurred 20 times in 229 series. In fact, coach Joel Quenneville was at the helm for the Blues when they did it against the Coyotes in 1999.
“It’s happened,” Quenneville said on the eve of Game 5. “The big picture looks bleak, but at the same time, we have two home games. Momentum, we talk about how important it is come playoff time. [The Wings] obviously have it right now, but one game can turn everything around. That’s what we’re looking for.”
Another nearly momentous comeback hits closer to home for other Hawks. Two years ago, the Hawks fell behind the Canucks 3-0 in the first round before forcing Game 7 with three straight wins. The dream ended in overtime, but left an indelible mark.
“It just goes to show that things like that are possible,” Jonathan Toews said. “We know this series is long from being over, and [Saturday] is going to be the toughest game for both teams.
“We’re not worried about winning three in a row yet. We want to win [Game 5], and we’ll go from there.”
If the Hawks are feeling the pressure of seeing their Presidents’ Trophy season end without a Stanley Cup, they went out of their way to hide it.
“What’s there to be down about?” Toews said. “Obviously, we’re not where we want to be in the series, but dwelling on that and feeling sorry for ourselves isn’t going to do anything. We’ve got a positive group of guys and had a great season all year for that reason, and we’re going to stick to what helps us win.”