By Brian Hamilton
1:19 PM CDT, April 25, 2011
Not many Chicago Blackhawks players have experienced a Game 7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs. Just four, in fact. Though perhaps it's a good sign that they are completely oblivious to this, as evidenced by Dave Bolland's response when asked Monday when he last played in a deciding Game 7 at any level.
"I think maybe last season, I don’t know," Bolland said.
Uh, no Game 7s last year.
"Two years ago?" Bolland replied.
Nope, not then, either. But as uncertain as the Hawks are of the ground they will tread Tuesday night against the Vancouver Canucks, they are entirely sure they do not want to let the work they've done thus far go to waste.
"We've come this far," winger Patrick Kane said of the return from a 3-0 series deficit, "it'll kind of be for nothing if we don't win tomorrow."
Said Bolland: "We want to win this. We want to move on. To come back from 3-0, going into Game 7 tied 3-3, I don’t think we want to lose now."
It is a renewed pressure upon the Hawks, though they insisted the greater burden is still the Canucks' to bear, and that may be true. The No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and a Stanley Cup favorite has much more to lose.
But the Hawks now have a realistic shot to advance, something that they haven't had to contemplate in the past three games. The team better able to quash the pressures likely will survive into the next round.
"We didn't want to look at the big picture, it was ugly at the time," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of the 3-0 hole. "We just wanted to win one hockey game and see where the momentum took us.
"Going into Vancouver there in Game 5, we knew it was an important game as well and played our best game that game. And we still have the momentum going into tomorrow's game with the excitement we didn't have going into Games 4, 5 and 6. It keeps snowballing here. But it's been a fun process."
One-timer: Winger Tomas Kopecky, out since Game 1 with an upper-body injury, traveled with the team to Vancouver. Kopecky did not accompany the team for the Game 5 trip.
"Kopey is progressing right now," Quenneville said. "He's coming on the trip but we'll see for tomorrow."
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