Any player who tells you home-ice advantage makes no difference is probably lying. No doubt the Blackhawks were thrilled Sunday's Game 7 of the Western Conference finals was in Chicago and not in the Kings' home arena.
"[Game 5 on Wednesday] was probably the loudest I've ever [heard the crowd] in the United Center," Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said Saturday. "It was unbelievable the way the crowd gave us energy."
The Hawks were hoping the fans saved their best for last. Here's what they were thinking Sunday as their team tried to knock off the Kings once and for all.
1 - Flatlined. As in dead. When do the Bears start?
2 - Nervous. Could be awesome. Could be awful.
3 - Hyperventilating. Is this really happening?
4 - Woohoo! Stanley Cup Final, here we come!
3 – Saad lights 'em up
Whatever happened to Brandon Saad in Game 5, the Hawks are loving it. The forward takes a pass from Patrick Kane (who else?) and banks it off Kings goalie Jonathan Quick for a 1-0 lead.
3 – Full power
You knew Kane and Jonathan Toews were due for a spectacular goal. This certainly qualifies: Kane deflects it right through his legs to a wide-open Toews, and that’s left for the captain to do is tap it home. 2-0.
1 – Grrrr, Jeff Carter!
So many Jeff Carter nightmares. After Corey Crawford knocks a rebound straight up, the Kings sharpshooter comes racing in and swats it past Crawford’s head and into the net. Fans were hoping it would be ruled that he put it in with a high stick, but no such luck.
1 – That guy?
Justin Williams finds an opening and fires it past Crawford. The same Williams who ticked off Michal Handzus earlier in the period. Tie game.
3 – Heeerrre's Sharpy
We have a Patrick Sharp sighting. He's been mostly invisible this series, but a seemingly harmless, bouncing shot skips past Quick. Sharp can try that a million more times—make that 100 million—and it won’t beat Quick. This was not one of those times.