CHICAGO (CBS) The Chicago Blackhawks are looking to do something that only three teams in Stanley Cup Playoff history have ever done. After trailing three games to none to the Vancouver Canucks, the Blackhawks have stormed back to force a Game 7.
With a win, Chicago can join the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs and the 1975 New York Islanders as the only teams to win a playoff series after trailing by three games.
Here are the keys to Game 7:
Let’s Get Serious
-Jonathan Toews, a.k.a. Captain Serious, had a 76-point (32 goals and 44 assists) regular season. But through the first six games of the playoffs has yet to find the back of the net and has a minus-three rating. Toews is the heart and soul of this team and his contributions far exceed the stat sheet, but Chicago still needs some production from their Captain if they want to knock off the 2011 recipients of the Presidents’ Trophy.
Stay Out Of The Box
-The Canucks are one of the most offensively talented teams in the NHL. It’s hard enough for teams to slow them down when the sides are even, but put Vancouver on a man-advantage and your asking to lose the game. The Canucks had the best power play in the league over the course of the regular season, converting at a 24.4% clip. As the game progresses and the intensity rises, Chicago will need to play disciplined and stay out of the penalty box.
The $10,000,000 Man
-Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo gets paid $10,000,000 a year by the Canucks, and they wouldn’t shell out so much money to a goalie if they didn’t expect him to carry their team in the playoffs. But as recent history has shown us, Luongo folds under pressure and has never led his team past the second round. Luongo and the Canucks are on the verge of getting bounced from the playoffs by the Chicago for the third consecutive year and by three different Blackhawk goalies. This might be the biggest and simplest key to the game: if the Blackhawks can force a Luongo meltdown then they can start preparing for another familiar goalie, Antti Niemi.
What do you think will happen in Game 7? Post your predictions in our comments section.