Momentum has been fickle, but Blackhawks have it now
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter April 24, 2014 7:09PM
Best of seven
Updated: May 26, 2014 6:37AM
Momentum has been fool’s gold in the Blackhawks-Blues series.
Each team has seen a 2-0 lead turn into a 3-2 deficit. Three times in four games, the team leading with four minutes left in regulation has lost the game. At almost every juncture, the team with the lead has struggled mightily to keep it instead of parlaying the advantage into a convincing victory.
But even if the Hawks’ so-called momentum off their 4-3 overtime victory in Game 4 is of dubious value, they have their own history on their side heading into a pivotal Game 5 on Friday at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
The Hawks were the best road playoff team in the NHL in the last four seasons, especially late in a series. They’ve won a road game in 10 consecutive playoff series. They’re 12-3 on the road in Games 4-7 since 2010, including 5-1 in their run to the Stanley Cup last season.
The Kings had won 15 consecutive home games before the Hawks beat them 3-2 at the Staples Center in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals last season. The Bruins had won seven consecutive home games in the postseason before the Hawks won Game 4 at TD Garden 6-5 in overtime, then won Game 6 there 3-2 to clinch the Cup.
But that doesn’t make the chore this time any easier.
‘‘We know [the Blues] love to play in their home building,’’ captain Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘They’re a really tough team to play at home with their own crowd, so we’ll be prepared for that. At the same time, we feel like we were pretty close to finding a way to win [in Games 1 and 2] in their building. Hopefully this time we can find a way to crack through and win there.’’
The Blues’ resilience has been problematic for the Hawks in this series, but they’re not unbeatable at home. They lost their last three home games in the regular season and needed goals with 1:45 and 6.4 seconds left in regulation to escape in overtime in Games 1 and 2 against the Hawks.
‘‘I don’t think we’ve been disappointed in one game that we’ve played in their building,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘A finished product is what we’re looking for. We’re due.’’
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said injured forward David Backes didn’t participate in practice Thursday. His status for Game 5 is undetermined.
‘‘Read into it what you want,’’ Hitchcock told reporters in
Toews up for Selke again
Toews was named one of three finalists for the Selke Trophy, given to the best defensive forward in the NHL. He won the award last season. The Bruins’ Patrice Bergeron and the Kings’ Anze Kopitar are the other finalists.
‘‘It’s an honor,’’ Toews said. ‘‘I owe a lot of my teammates for getting recognition like that. For a player to be nominated for an award is always a reflection not only of his own ability, but more so of the teammates and linemates he’s playing with. I’ve been in a good situation all year, just like last year.’’