In the history of the NHL, 49 times a team that was trailing 3-1 in the series has come back to force a game 7. On Wednesday night, the Chicago Blackhawks became the 25th team to complete the comeback and win game 7 after a 2-1 victory in overtime over the Detroit Red Wings. After falling behind 3-1, most people had written the Blackhawks off and were punching the Red Wings ticket to the Western Conference Finals. Someone forgot to tell Chicago, though. Chicago, behind some spectacular goaltending from Corey Crawford, capped off an amazing comeback in game 7.
Crawford, who gave up nine goals in the three straight losses to Detroit, only gave up five goals in the final three Chicago wins. His save percentage was .929 for the series and he only allowed two goals a game, and as previously pointed out, he got better and better as the series lingered. Chicago proved throughout this series why they finished the season with the best record in hockey. Through adversity and with their backs against the wall, they managed to pull together and do what many thought was impossible. The Blackhawks used the “us against the world” mentality to bring the locker room together and to prove why they were the best all season long.
They have a few days to celebrate the game-7 victory before opening up against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, June 1. Then, for some crazy reason, game 2 will be played the very next day. With both second round series for the Kings and Blackhawks going the distance there may be a few weary legs on both benches come Saturday. Both teams know what’s at stake, though. The winner of the next series will play for the ultimate prize — Lord Stanley’s Cup. Whichever team comes out of the west will be battle-worn for sure.
Chicago will have to try to figure out how to get the puck past one of the hottest goalies going right now, Jonathan Quick. Quick has the ability to put the Kings on his shoulders and carry them through the playoffs if needed. Crawford will have to be stellar all series to match his counterpart. Either way, buckle up because this should be one fast and furious ride through the Western Conference Finals.