Game 6: NHL Playoffs Blues at Chicago Blackhawks Preview

From Russia, with not a whole lotta Love .... - Dilip Vishwanat

There is no margin for error today. Just win.

Another song that is used in the playoff pre-game video package is the pump-up anthem Lose Yourself by Eminem. The next 72 hours will certainly fit the mood of the lyrics.

Look, if you had one shot, or one opportunity

To seize everything you ever wanted. one moment

Would you capture it or just let it slip?

The Blues will be fighting for their playoff lives today, and all a win does is guarantee a chance to do it again on Tuesday. Sometimes a chance is all you need. From Mark Potash from the Chicago Sun Times:

"We don’t want to go back to St. Louis," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "We’re going to try and do everything we can to finish it off. They have a great team and they were close. They could’ve had both games [at the United Center] and we could’ve had both games [in St. Louis]. It could have gone either way so far. Hopefully we can just release the handbrake and just go full force."

I think it is pretty telling that the Blues, without Backes in the lineup, came pretty damn close to beating the Hawks in both games 3 and 4. Now, with David Backes in the lineup again, and two days healthier (and ditto for T.J. Oshie), we're a lot closer to the team that won games 1 & 2. That may well make the difference. There's no shortage of motivation:

From Tracey Myers, CSN Chicago:

Meanwhile, the Blues will be trying to stave off first-round elimination for the second consecutive postseason. The Los Angeles Kings were down 0-2 to the Blues last April but stormed back to win the next four games. Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said his team has to focus on writing a new story, not repeating the old one.

"We have a chance to write our own legacy," he told St. Louis media on Saturday. "Everybody is probably writing, ‘Here they go again. They're challenging the top teams, but can they get through the top teams?’ Everybody is going to write that stuff.

There is no point in rehashing the similarities to last year. Spooky coincidence, perhaps, but coincidence nonetheless. The Blues hold their own fate in their hands. This is not a Blues team that is known for just giving up.

More from Myers:

Game 5 was like every other game in this series: neither had a decisive advantage, neither team thoroughly outplayed the other. Game 6 is likely to be the same. The edges have been razor thin. Blackhawks players agreed it’s one of the most intense first-round matches they’ve played.

He's nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,

The Blackhawks hold one edge, for sure; they've been here before. Not only have they been in this situation, but they've excelled in it. Again, from the Sun Times piece:

Under Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks are 10-2 with a chance to clinch a series, including 4-0 last season when they won the Stanley Cup.

and also from Mike Harrington, Buffalo News:

A quick study of the Blackhawks’ last five playoff years yields some incredible numbers.

In Games One–Three of each series dating to 2010, the Blackhawks have a pedestrian record of 16-17. In Games Four–Seven, they are 24-6 — including 13-3 on the road.

In overtime, they are just 4-7 in Games One-Three. In Games Four-Seven, they are 9-2.

And here’s a real cautionary tale for the Blues today: Under Joel Quenneville, Chicago is 8-1 in Game Six – and 6-0 when a series can be clinched.

No matter how you slice and dice up the situation... the Blackhawks have a habit of winning.

He's so mad, but he won't give up that

Easy, no

He won't have it, he knows his whole back's to these ropes

The Blues can seize the chance that this game provides. If this series is any indication, they don't plan on going away very easily. Each team has blown leads, and the Blues have often been the ones coming from behind to tie or win the game late. Where ever that came from, they will have to dig down and find some more of it. If things work out well today, then it's back to the mines on Tuesday for yet more.

No more games, I'ma change what you call rage

Tear this motherfucking roof off like two dogs caged

I was playing in the beginning, the mood all changed

From Jeremy Rutherford, today on STLToday, Oshie talking about Backes:

"I thought he was pretty good," Oshie said. "He made a lot of good plays, a lot of good plays defensively. I think him, like myself, were a little excited to be in the game and we were running around a little bit trying to maybe hit too much. I think he did a great job. A couple of those shots get through, he might have a goal or set up one for a rebound. Big gamer; we’re expecting more out of him (Sunday)."

Keep focused on the task at hand, the win. Ignore Brent Seabrook's return. Ignore Duncan Keith's douchebaggery. The ultimate revenge will be sending them packing. Make the necessary changes to your game, cash in on your scoring chances, and bring home a win.

So here I go it's my shot.

Feet, fail me not, this may be the only opportunity that I got

You can do anything you set your mind to, man

Final Verse: Afternoon game today - opening faceoff is at 2PM St Louis time. The TV broadcast will be on NBC, and the radio call will be on KYKY (Y98) FM. The GDT should drop just before the puck does. Until that time, this is your pregame warmup. Gather here, drop the negative vibes, and learn to laugh at Chicago again:


LGB!!!

-CrossCheckRaise

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