The Blackhawks feel as if they’ve seen it all under coach Joel Quenneville, and that no situation, no matter how desperate, can faze them.
But the fact is, the Hawks have never faced a situation like this — trailing a series 2-0, with two shutout losses at home. But as the series shifts to Nashville for
Game 3 on Monday, the core Hawks will draw on their lengthy and varied postseason experience as they try to climb out of what Quenneville deemed “a gigantic hole.”
Here are the most dire series deficits the Hawks have faced in the Quenneville era and how they fared.
2011 vs. Canucks, down 3-0
After backing into the playoffs as the No. 8 seed on the last day of the regular season, the Hawks found themselves in a 3-0 hole after three games. Compounding matters, Raffi Torres knocked out Brent Seabrook for two games with a vicious hit in Game 3. But Canucks killer Dave Bolland returned from a concussion and turned the series around with four points in a 7-2 win at the United Center. The Hawks won 5-0 in Game 5, chasing Luongo for the second consecutive game, and won Game 6 on Ben Smith’s overtime goal. Jonathan Toews scored with 1:56 left to send Game 7 to overtime, but Alexandre Burrows took advantage of a catastrophic Chris Campoli turnover and finally slayed the dragon for the Canucks.
2013 vs. Red Wings, down 3-1
A magical season that started with a record 21-0-3 run was crumbling all around the Hawks as they lost three consecutive games, with Toews melting down in Game 4. After an easy Game 5 win at home, the Hawks entered the third period of Game 6 in Detroit trailing by a goal. But Michal Handzus scored 51 seconds into the third, and Bryan Bickell and Michael Frolik (on a penalty shot) kept the Hawks alive. In Game 7, Niklas Hjalmarsson scored the apparent game-winner late in the third, but it was waved off because of a scrap well behind the play. Toews told the team at the intermission that the Hawks would win it “3-1 in overtime,” and sure enough, Seabrook scored the biggest goal of his life at 3:35 of overtime.
2014 vs. Blues, down 2-0
The Hawks returned to the United Center for
Game 3 on serve but in a hole after two gut-punch losses in St. Louis — the Blues tying Games 1 and 2 with 1:45 left and seven seconds left, respectively, then winning both in overtime. But the Hawks recovered to win four consecutive games, including overtime wins of their own in Games 4 and 5. The Game 4 win was a nice bit of symmetry, as Bickell scored late in the third (shortly after T.J. Oshie hit the post on what would have all but assured a 3-1 series lead for the Blues) before Patrick Kane scored the game-winner in overtime.
2014 vs. Kings, down 3-1
The Hawks blew a 3-1 lead in Game 5 and entered the third period down 4-3. But Ben Smith got the equalizer early, and Corey Crawford made 19 saves to get the game to overtime. After possibly the greatest overtime period in modern hockey history, a breathless 20 minutes of end-to-end action, Handzus scored the game-winner at 2:04 of the second overtime. The Hawks again rallied in the third to win Game 6 at Staples Center. But 20 minutes from a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final, the Hawks surrendered a game-tying goal to Marian Gaborik with 7:17 left, and Alec Martinez’s shot at 5:47 of overtime fluttered off Nick Leddy’s jersey and past Crawford. The Kings went on to win the Stanley Cup in five games over the Rangers.
2015 vs. Ducks, down 3-2
The Hawks lost Game 5 in Anaheim on Matt Beleskey’s goal 45 seconds into overtime, but Toews had scored twice in the final 1:50 to send the game to overtime in the first place, and Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen never recovered. The Hawks rolled to a 5-2 win at home in Game 6, and Toews quickly ended the tension in Game 7 back at the Honda Center, scoring twice in the first period as the Hawks cruised back to the Stanley Cup Final with a 5-3 victory.