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Blackhawks managing to overcome poor stretches

by Brian Hedger /

CHICAGO -- It's a stat that is both impressive and frustrating for the Chicago Blackhawks in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Following their 5-4, Game 4, double-overtime victory against the Anaheim Ducks in the Western Conference Final on Saturday, the Blackhawks have allowed at least three goals in a period six times in their 14 postseason games.

Remarkably, they've won four of those games. They've scored three goals in one period five times, including twice in the same period they allowed three. The latest happened during a wild third period at United Center on Saturday, when the Ducks scored three straight goals in 37 seconds to take a 4-3 lead.

The Blackhawks were again forced to respond, which they did with a power-play goal by right wing Patrick Kane that eventually forced overtime.

"I mean, it's not the recipe for success, but when we get ourselves in those situations, we have a lot of great leadership and experience to kind of get ourselves through those situations," Kane said. "I think that's probably what we count on most, and no matter what happens in the hockey game, we never feel like we're out of it."

The Nashville Predators and now the Ducks can attest.

During Chicago's elimination of Nashville in the first round, a series that lasted six games, the Blackhawks allowed three goals in a period three times and four goals in the third period of Game 5 at Bridgestone Arena. The Blackhawks only lost that game and Game 2 at Bridgestone, when they allowed three in the third period to prompt a goalie switch from Corey Crawford to Scott Darling for the next four games.

They clinched the series in Game 6 with a 4-3 victory at United Center that required three goals in the first period to match three allowed by Darling, sparking another goalie switch back to Crawford for the remainder of that game.

"Throughout the playoffs you get thrown a lot of adversity, so not everything's going to go your way, and it has been like that for us," said defenseman Duncan Keith, who scored the deciding goals in Games 1 and 6 against Nashville. "We've been up and down. We've had to fight through things, and I'd like to think that makes us stronger in the end."

Chicago's second-round sweep of the Minnesota Wild also had three-goal periods.

After taking a 3-0 lead in the first period of Game 1 on home ice, the Blackhawks gave up three consecutive goals in the second period before surging ahead for good on a goal by rookie forward Teuvo Teravainen at 19:01 of the second. That goal stood as the deciding margin.

That was the most recent time they'd either scored or given up three in a period until Saturday against the Ducks, when they again rebounded from a stretch that would've caused most other teams to melt down.

"It's part of the playoffs," Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. "In the playoffs, there's a lot of ups and downs. Like I said about overtime, I think we've got a confidence in our group. We've seen a lot of stuff over the years, so that doesn't really faze us. We needed to take a deep breath [Saturday] night and get refocused, and we did."

That calm amidst what looks like chaos is uncommon. It's been cultivated by years of playoff success and a litany of postseason situations the core group of Blackhawks have faced during their NHL careers.

"I think that's part of it, absolutely, but I think some of it is just the mindset that it's not over and just keep going until the game's over," Keith said, reflecting on Kane's goal to tie Game 4 against Anaheim. "We know we've got a lot of firepower on this team to score one goal, so we've done that many times, where we can score one goal with time left. Obviously, you're not happy with giving up a lead like that, but you know … we're happy we got the win in the end."

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