TAMPA -- It's sometimes difficult to quantify the impact of experience, and it can often be a concept that gets overblown.
That appeared to be the case in the run-up to this Stanley Cup Final.
But as the Lightning, fueled by a frenetic home crowd, got off to an excellent start in Game 1 on Wednesday and opened the scoring at 4:31 of the first period on a skilled deflection by Alex Killorn, the Blackhawks knew they weren't out of it.
In fact, they not only knew they weren't out of it, the Blackhawks knew they would come back if they stuck to the system and played the type of game that has brought them so much success over the years.
They believed it.
If there is one tangible benefit to experience, perhaps that is it. Belief.
"I think we always have that feeling," Chicago forward Patrick Sharp said. "It doesn't matter how the game is going, doesn't matter what the score is. I think there's a belief in our room that things are going to happen when we stick to the game plan and trust the process."