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SET THE STAGE: 2013 Conference Semifinals, Game 5

On the brink of elimination after three straight losses, it took an early goal and an unlikely hero to vault the Blackhawks back into the series in Game 5

by Carter Baum @CarterBaum /

Tune in at 4 p.m. as NBC Sports Chicago airs Game 5 of the 2013 Western Conference Semifinals

For really the first time all year, the Blackhawks were facing adversity.

The team that had led the NHL from start to finish - amassing a 24-game unbeaten run to start the season and capturing the President's Trophy with an unheard of .802 win percentage - had lost three straight games for the first time all year and was on the brink of elimination heading into Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals, down 3-1 to the Red Wings.

"We had an amazing team," said Andrew Shaw - then a second-year forward on the dawn of a breakout playoff run. "Dominated all year long and then - to win Game 1 and then lose three in a row, it was do-or-die for us. Our backs were up against the wall."

"Obviously we knew we had the team to win one hockey game at a time when we were down," Marian Hossa added. "We had a meeting and that's what we said."

Having been outscored 9-2 over the previous three outings, including a shutout in Game 4, a late first-period tally from Bryan Bickell to take a lead for the first time in almost three full games - 179 minutes total - had a rejuvenating effect on the entire roster.

"You want to score early, you want to take the lead, so scoring like that, it's huge," Shaw reflected. "It boosts the guys, it takes a little bit of a weight off your shoulder and we all kind of exhaled and started breathing and we just moved forward from there."

Detroit would even things up near the game's midpoint, but Shaw took the spotlight re-gaining the lead less than four minutes later and in the third period with 3-1 Chicago lead, effectively put the game away at the 6:58 mark with his first career multi-goal playoff game.

"Our big guns, they put a lot of stress on themselves in situations like that," the unlikely hero said. "Everyone wants to do their part, everyone wants to help out and just grinding away, going to the net and finding a way to score and get the morale going even more and helping the team get a win and push a Game 6, it was one of those moments that I won't ever forget."

Their backs still against the wall heading to Detroit for Game 6, Chicago now had the momentum and the re-gained confidence to rattle off perhaps the greatest series comeback in team history.

"We knew we could take the series over, we just needed a big Game 5 and everyone showed up," Shaw said. "Everyone from our goaltending, all of our defensemen and all forwards - everyone steps up and we came out with a win and then it just snowballed from that. We knew we had the series after that."

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