CHICAGO – Chicago Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson is as even keeled as one can be but even he couldn’t help but crack a smile after his club rallied to stun the Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 Friday afternoon.
Despite that smile, it’s not a sign to relax. If anything, it’s to keep playing the game that led to that hard earned victory.
“Yesterday again we discussed it, taking it to the next level and the next level. We’ve got a lot of ways to go still on that but I think that was the key is just playing behind them, playing some simple hockey and with a little desperation and fire. They earned everything they got tonight in that dressing room. Proud of them, but it’s not done.”
The key: It’s not done.
No, for a team that prevented a five-game losing streak from morphing into a sixth game, it’s not close to being done. If anything, how do you replicate that feeling following the exciting finish into a similar effort Sunday?
Blackhawks Must Continue ‘Playing Our Game’
Overtime hero Kevin Korchinski said that the final results were a direct impact of what they kept doing–playing their game.
“Just over time, we kept playing our game, playing our game and compounding good shifts, playing in their zone and less D-zone, eventually that paid off. Obviously got to overtime, a lot of chaos, and just gave ourselves a really good chance to win there.”
Indeed they did, and in a season where the puck luck hasn’t always bounced Chicago’s way, it hopped off the glass, onto the cage, and dropped where a circling Korchinski could ever-so-slightly tap it in with a backhand.
Joey Anderson, fresh from his Rockford call up, couldn’t help but feel the emotion change in the third period.
“Emotion was there,” he said. “It’s intense, but we used that to our advantage tonight and didn’t let guys get off their game. We stuck with it, we stuck to the process, and that’s what you’ve got to do when you want to win.”
That process helped the Blackhawks roar back from a 3-1 deficit where it certainly looked as if it would be another loss–potentially a blowout.
Instead, it almost was a rallying cry. Who would better know than the man who potted three, including the game-tying goal.
“I think it comes down to getting physical and getting engaged and being invested emotionally,” Dickinson said. “Obviously that was what the result was, but to get the emotion, you have to turn it on inside first and then it translates to the ice.”
It certainly did. Will it translate into a winning streak?
That will certainly keep Richardson smiling.
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