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Blackhawks confident they can rally past Blues

Defending champions have responded before with backs against the wall

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Blackhawks are in a familiar situation in their Western Conference First Round series against the St. Louis Blues.

The defending Stanley Cup champions are down 2-1 in the best-of-7 series heading into Game 4 at United Center on Tuesday (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports, FS-MW, CSN-CH), a scenario they have been in 10 times since coach Joel Quenneville took over in 2008-09. 

In those 10 series, the Blackhawks won seven of them, including twice in the Stanley Cup Final (2013 and 2015), and went a combined 24-8 in Games 4-7. It's a reserve of confidence virtually no other team in the NHL has banked in that time frame.

"You look back at what we've done and how we've been successful in the past, coming back in the series, I think it's the character in the room from the coaching staff to all the players," forward Andrew Shaw said Monday, a day after the Blackhawks were defeated by the Blues in Game 3. "We feed off each other and we always stick together through thick and thin, and we always seem to come out on top."

Video: Coach Q Game 3 loss to St Louis Blues

The numbers back it up.

This is the eighth straight postseason Quenneville has coached the Blackhawks. In that span, they're 43-14 in Games 4-7 of a series, regardless of the situation after three games. The Pittsburgh Penguins, who are 22-19 in the final four games of a series during that stretch, have the next best record.

Chicago is 26-6 in Games 4-7 the past three seasons, including 15-1 at United Center, the site of Game 4.

The Blackhawks have used that resiliency to win the Cup three times in the past six seasons, so there's a reason they don't sound concerned just yet. They also fell behind 2-0 against the Blues in a 2014 first-round series and won four straight games.

Veteran forward Andrew Ladd wasn't with the Blackhawks for that series, but was around for their 2010 championship. That season, Chicago fell behind 2-1 to the Nashville Predators in the first round and won the next three games to advance.

The Blackhawks' confidence was budding at that point. It's in full bloom now. Ladd has noticed how much it has grown since he was reacquired on Feb. 25 in a trade with the Winnipeg Jets.

Video: STL@CHI, Gm3: Ladd draws iron twice on one shot

"I think it's the confidence in that room and understanding how important the next game is," Ladd said. "We're confident [that] we know if we play the way we know we can play, we'll give ourselves a great chance to win the game. That's the opportunity we have next game, and we try to get our emotional level up for that one and get ready to go."

Quenneville has witnessed that attitude among his core group of veterans. They pride themselves on being a tough team to eliminate and force opponents to play their best to do it.

"There's [strategic] adjustments you try to look at and try to enhance, but at the end of the day you've got to outwork and outplay the guy you're going to be seeing basically 50 to 100 percent of the time out there," Quenneville said. "A lot of nights, that's what it comes down to. We know that the more important the games, you've got to rise to that challenge, and we've got a lot of guys who seem to get excited about where we're at in this situation, as well, [coming] from behind." 

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