The time is here: Game 7 in the Western Conference Finals. An idea that seemed irrelevant after the Chicago Blackhawks lost three straight to the Los Angeles Kings in Games 2 through 4, but the Blackhawks rattled of two-straight wins to tie the series at three. In the past two seasons, the Hawks are 13-0 in Games 5 through 7, and a staggering 5-0 in the postseason when they face elimination — a stat that will need to be extended, led by the stars on this team, to move on to the Stanley Cup Finals against the New York Rangers.
Patrick Kane was held to just one point in the first four games of the series. Since being put on a line with Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad, Kane has posted seven points in two games (two G, five A). The defensive units are equally as important. The Blackhawks’ core of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook are two of the most dangerous defensemen in the offensive zone. While the two have struggled to this point in the series, a wake-up call seemed to help in Games 5 and 6 as the two star defensemen have combined for four points (two G, two A). Jonathan Toews has been fairly quiet since scoring two goals in Game 3 as well. The leader and captain of this Blackhawks team must be just that. Toews will need to lead this team for the Blackhawks to move on. The Blackhawks will need to rely on Toews, along with the likes of Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa, who surprisingly only have only five goals combined this entire postseason.
The veteran leadership on this Blackhawks team will need to come ready to play if the Hawks look to do something that no other team this postseason has done: close out the Kings in Game 7. The Kings are undefeated in two Games 7, beating the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks. The Hawks have come back from a series deficit of 3-1 only once in their storied history. That win came last season, when they pushed the Detroit Red Wings to a Game 7 and eventually won, sending them to the Western Conference Finals. Look for the Blackhawks to put pressure on the Kings’ defense and goaltending. The series has 60 minutes left, and the Hawks must give it their all the entirety of those 60 minutes. Game 7 will be held on Sunday night on NBC SportsNet at 8 p.m. ET.