Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews

Hawks show resilience with rally over Wings

CHICAGO — In case there were any doubts, the Chicago Blackhawks are showing they can be resilient as well as dominant. They made it look easy in the regular season. But they had to dig deep in the playoffs. The Blackhawks dug their way out of a 3-1 deficit to Detroit in the Western Conference semifinals to take the series in seven games, beating the rival Red Wings 2-1 on Brent Seabrook’s overtime goal Wednesday night.

CHICAGO — In case there were any doubts, the Chicago Blackhawks are showing they can be resilient as well as dominant.

They made it look easy in the regular season. But they had to dig deep in the playoffs.

The Blackhawks dug their way out of a 3-1 deficit to Detroit in the Western Conference semifinals to take the series in seven games, beating the rival Red Wings 2-1 on Brent Seabrook’s overtime goal Wednesday night.

They will now face the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in what could be another difficult series for a team eyeing its second Stanley Cup in four seasons. Game 1 of the conference finals is in Chicago on Saturday.

This is hardly a time to breathe easy, but the Blackhawks can at least exhale a little after surviving a grueling series against another Original Six team.

“It’s not the way you want to win a series, going down 3 games to 1,” captain Jonathan Toews said. “But to come out on top given the situation we were in three games ago, it shows the character that we have on top of the ability and the potential this team has. We need to use the ability and the confidence this gives us.”

No team made it look easier in the regular season than the Blackhawks, who got off to a record start and captured the Presidents’ Trophy for finishing with the most points. But it’s been a different story in the playoffs.

They came in looking for more after back-to-back first-round exits following their championship run in 2010. They took out Minnesota in five games and were looking good after a 4-1 win over Detroit in Game 1, but the series turned in a big way after that. The Blackhawks managed just two goals in Games 2 through 4 and found themselves facing elimination.

It didn’t help that Toews lost his composure in Game 4 after being targeted by the Red Wings and wound up being sent to the penalty box three times in the second period. The Blackhawks were looking like an unglued team at that point, but they stuck together, instead. They held a meeting and began mounting an improbable comeback.

Chicago had to regroup again late in Game 7 after the potential go-ahead goal by Niklas Hjalmarsson got waved off in the closing minutes of regulation. The crowd was in a frenzy after he fired a shot past Jimmy Howard with 1:47 remaining, except it didn’t count. The Blackhawks’ Brandon Saad and Red Wings’ Kyle Quincey got tangled by the Detroit bench, and referee Stephen Walkom called roughing penalties as Chicago went in for the goal.

Seabrook wound up winning it in overtime with a wrist shot that deflected off Detroit defenceman Niklas Kronwall’s leg and sailed past Howard’s glove into the left side of the net.

The Blackhawks outscored the Red Wings 10-5 over the final three games and became the 25th team to win a series after falling behind 3-1. It was the first time a Chicago team had done it.

“You know what, we did have some learning curves in this round definitely,” Seabrook said afterward. “Detroit played a great series. We really had to find ourselves after the fourth game being down 3-1. I thought the boys responded well. We played a very good Game 5. I thought we played a very good Game 6. I thought we played very well tonight. Detroit gave us all they had. It was just nice to come out on the winning end of this.”

Now, they’re looking at another big obstacle.

No goalie has been hotter in the playoffs than Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick with a .948 save percentage, although Chicago’s Corey Crawford (.938) has been almost as good.

Quick dropped two of three games against the Blackhawks during the regular season. His save percentage was .857 and he allowed 12 goals.

“We’ve had progressively much tougher series and they keep getting tougher,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “LA’s got the Cup and they’ve played two tough rounds in a row. They know how to win. We’ve got to be well-prepared and excited about the opportunity.”

Just Posted

Red Deer property taxes to go up 2.15 per cent in 2019

City council approves $369.8 million budget

Sylvan Lake council approves concept plan for new park

Pogadl Park will eventally be home to numerous ball diamonds and sports fields

One person dead after collision on Highway 2A

Pickup truck and grain truck collided on Highway 2A south of Carstairs

Updated: Trial stalls for man accused in fatal Canada Day 2016 crash

Defence lawyer argued relevant information received only hours before trial to begin

Trudeau says politicians shouldn’t prey on Canadians’ fears

The Prime Minister was speaking at a townhall in Ontario

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Shooter pleads guilty to manslaughter in Stettler

A Stettler man charged with second-degree murder has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.… Continue reading

Kentucky canoe outfit borrows photo of Trudeau family to market business

They are in a red canoe, all clad in life jackets, and Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Ella-Grace are waving

Police chief confirms all three Ottawa bus victims were on board when it crashed

OTTAWA — All three people killed in last week’s deadly bus accident… Continue reading

Theresa May wins no-confidence vote after Brexit deal rejection

UK PM can keep her job, after House of Commons voted 325-306

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Most Read