Blackhawks have had mixed results in Game 7s
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As they head to St. Louis for Game 7 of their first-round series, here’s a look back at the Blackhawks’ four previous Game 7 experiences under Joel Quenneville.
April 26, 2011: First round at Vancouver
After dropping the first three games of the series, the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks trounced the hated Canucks 7-2 and 5-0 before winning Game 6 in overtime at the United Center, setting up an unlikely Game 7 in Vancouver. And after Jonathan Toews scored a shorthanded goal with just 1:56 left in the third period to send the game to overtime, the Hawks appeared poised to eliminate the Canucks for the third straight postseason. But Alex Burrows scored at 5:22 of overtime and Vancouver avoided becoming the fourth team (at the time) in NHL history to blow a 3-0 series lead.
“This one might be better than [winning gold at] the Olympics,” Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo said.
May 29, 2013: Second round vs. Detroit
Up until last summer’s renovation, there was a sizable nick on the seat of Niklas Hjalmarsson’s locker stall in the United Center from when he slammed his stick during the third intermission of Game 7 against the Red Wings. Hjalmarsson had scored the apparent series-winning goal with 1:49 left in regulation, but it was waved off because of a dubious penalty call by referee Stephen Walkom on Brandon Saad far behind the play. But the Hawks, who had clawed back from a 3-1 series deficit just to force Game 7 in the first place, rebounded one more time. Brent Seabrook scored from the high slot just 3:35 into overtime, and the Hawks went on to win the Stanley Cup.
“I said we’ll beat them 3-1,” Toews said of his intermission speech. “We’re obviously pretty pissed off that the whistle blew right before that one went in. But we weren’t going to go away that way.”
June 1, 2014: Western Conference final vs. Los Angeles
With a chance to return to the Stanley Cup Final and become the NHL’s first repeat champions since 1998, the Hawks came agonizingly close before falling 5-4 in overtime to the Kings. The Hawks led 2-0, 3-2, and 4-3, but couldn’t close it out. Marian Gaborik scored at 12:43 of the third period to tie it, and Alec Martinez’s shot from the point ticked Nick Leddy’s jersey and fluttered past Corey Crawford at 5:47 of overtime to win it. The Kings went on to beat the New York Rangers in five games in the Final, matching the Hawks’ mark of two Stanley Cups in the salary-cap era.
“I’ve lost some tough games,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “But nothing like tonight.”
May 30, 2015: Western Conference final at Anaheim
Five days earlier, Toews scored two goals in the final two minutes of Game 5 to send the game to overtime. The Ducks won 45 seconds into overtime, but Toews seemed to break Anaheim goaltender Frederik Andersen, who had been so good as the Ducks built a 3-2 series lead. He finished the job in Game 7, scoring twice in the first period as the Hawks built a 4-0 lead and cruised to a 5-3 victory. The physical Ducks took their toll, but despite Ryan Kesler’s desperate insistence that “no human” could withstand so many hits, the Hawks survived and advanced, and went on to win their second Stanley Cup in three years.
“We always do a great job of looking at the big picture and realizing the potential of our team,” Toews said. “We don’t need to go on a long stretch of wins and win the Presidents’ Trophy and have the regular season of our lives to have the confidence that we can go the distance in the playoffs. We know we’ve just got to get there.”