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Hawks gain confidence from comeback

Thursday, 04.23.2009 / 2:10 AM / 2009 Playoffs Conference Quarterfinals

By Todd Kimberley - NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY, Alberta -- The baby-faced Chicago Blackhawks are growing up in a hurry.

Given the Blackhawks' youth -- they have 12 National Hockey League playoff rookies and 14 players aged 25 or younger -- it wouldn't have been surprising if they’d given up halfway through Wednesday night's Game 4 after falling behind 4-1 to the Calgary Flames before a deafening crowd at the Pengrowth Saddledome.

They had surrendered three quick goals, they could barely hear themselves amid the din generated by the sellout crowd of 19,289 -- and it would have been easy to roll over and hope for better things back in Chicago.

But the Hawks more than made a game of it, scoring three times before the end of the period to tie the score before Eric Nystrom's goal with 6:56 left and Jarome Iginla's empty-netter gave the Flames a series tying 6-4 victory.

The best-of-7 series is even at two wins apiece, with Game 5 slated for Saturday night at Chicago’s United Center. Despite the loss, the Hawks will go into that game with some extra jump after their comeback.

"It gives us more confidence," Chicago captain Jonathan Toews said. "In the first two games (of this series), we came back from one- and two-goal deficits to win games.
"There’s no reason why we couldn’t come from three goals behind tonight.

"It’s disappointing to give up two games here on the road, when going into the third periods there was still a legitimate chance for us to come out with the win," added Toews.
"It was a big comeback for us in the second period, and a big confidence booster for us. We did what we had to do to win."

After Olli Jokinen scored his second goal of the night to give the Flames a three-goal lead at 9:16 of the middle period, Chicago coach Joel Quenneville called his timeout to settle down his team.

Whatever he said obviously worked.

Kris Versteeg made it 4-2 on a power-play rebound at 12:13. Cam Barker cut the lead to one by deflecting Sami Pahlsson's shot between Miikka Kiprusoff’s pads at 16:44.

The wall of noise at the Saddledome was now a worried murmur.

Things got even quieter when Dustin Byfuglien appeared to redirect Pahlsson' shot with the shaft of his stick into the Calgary net. However, Pahlsson was credited with the power-play goal that further quieted the crowd and sent the teams into their locker rooms tied 4-4.

"We had to get ourselves back. We had to press a little more, and the third period ended up being anybody’s game," Quenneville said when asked what he told his players during the timeout. "It was a good comeback, for sure, but not finishing it off was a tough ending.

"I like how we competed in this building. Coming up empty is tough, but . . . we move on."







Quote of the Day

He seemed to thrive on his own and didn't really need any push from me. I certainly don't want to get in the way of the coaches. You see how that goes sometimes. I never really worried about it and just enjoyed the ride.

— David Ekblad on his son's [Aaron Ekblad] journey to the NHL, signing with the Florida Panthers