By Tracey Myers in Chicago
The Chicago Blackhawks might call this uncharted territory if they hadn't been here before.
Down a big deficit in the playoffs, backs against the wall, facing an elimination game. Yep, this is very familiar to the Blackhawks, who were in this same predicament - actually a bit worse - last season against the Vancouver Canucks.
Now they're down 3-1 against the Phoenix Coyotes, who have just frustrated Chicago to no end in four games. It's the cliché do-or-die time, with the Blackhawks' backs pressing into the wall so hard they're leaving imprints.
So as they face a quick exit again, the Blackhawks look back at last season when, down 3-0, they eventually forced a Game 7 against the Canucks.
And if they can do that here against the Coyotes, well, anything can happen in Game 7s.
"It's a big thing," Jonathan Toews said of past comebacks. "It gives us confidence in forcing a Game 7 and being down three to none last year.
There's a lot of hope in this group that we're going to push this thing to seven games. But it starts with tomorrow's game. That's all we're going to focus on right now."
The toughest part of this series for Chicago is they've been in each game. They've forced overtime in three of them, but they've also been unable to capitalize on the momentum going into the extra frame. It hasn't helped that Corey Crawford has given up two soft game winners in as many games, and head coach Joel Quenneville said Friday that "we'll talk about" the goaltending situation for Game 5 (i.e., Ray Emery could start).
And if the Blackhawks are going to pull off the comeback, they need a few things to happen:
The Blackhawks were driven by a few other factors last season against Vancouver; mainly their angst and hatred of the Canucks that is reciprocated. But it shouldn't matter the opponent. The fear of starting summer too soon should drive the Blackhawks. It almost got them into
Round 2 last season, it has to motivate them through to it in this one.
"I think you have to [look at past comebacks]," Duncan Keith said. "Now that we've had that experience, we have to draw on everything you can and that's one of them. We are a desperate team and, like I said last night, [Game 5] needs to be our best game of the year."
Tracey Myers reports for CSN Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @TramyersCSN
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