Hospitals in the Chicago area are at least temporally on hold and not faced with a crisis. For the last two Blackhawks games against Detroit, Hawks fans have been holding their breath, hoping and praying their top-seeded team would comeback from a 3-1 series deficit. It wasn’t easy, but with three third period goals, Chicago is at least in position to reach the West Finals against the defending Stanley Cup champions Los Angeles.
Every Game 7 takes on a life of its own. After giving up a 2-1 lead in the final period, Detroit coach Mike Babcock felt compelled to talk to his team, something he says he never does. He explained to his squad they (generally) outplayed the Blackhawks for the first two periods and a combination of mistakes and bad breaks sent them to defeat. If he hasn’t told them already, Babcock will convey all the pressure is on Chicago, because the toughest part for the Red Wings players is already over, having to fight just to make the playoffs for the 21st straight time.
The Blackhawks players have to feel great, as their star players are now outplaying Detroit’s best and they have solved the Jimmy Howard mystery in goal, hanging a pair of 4’s on the scoreboard in consecutive outings. The resolve it took to come from behind in the last period in a truly hostile environment also says something about the team.
While it is true the Blackhawks are 17-2 off a road win this year, Detroit has already lost a Game 6 on home ice and flew to Anaheim and won in enemy territory. Based on their body of work, Chicago deserves to be a -220 money line favorite, nevertheless, as we have said many times already this postseason, it’s the Red Wings and nothing comes easy against that crew.