The Blackhawks had dropped three consecutive games, had scored just two goals in those three losses, had scored just once on the power play in the series and were facing elimination in their own building. So when they finally won a game by going off for four goals, including two on the power play, and were able to treat their fans to a win, there was plenty of joy going around on Saturday.
But as positive as Saturday was, the Blackhawks understand the odds remain firmly against them. They still need to win twice more, including Game 6 in Detroit on Monday, before they can truly celebrate.
“Everyone is at a high right now,” Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw, who scored twice in Saturday’s win, said. “We kind of have to control that and focus on Game 6 here.”
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville understood what’s still ahead for his team.
“We still got to go back to Detroit,” Quenneville said. “We got to win a game. I thought today we got the momentum back on our side. Let’s go in there and keep it.”
The Red Wings have had the Blackhawks’ number at Joe Louis Arena so far in the series. The Red Wings won 3-1 in Detroit in Game 3 and 2-0 in Game 4. Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard has stopped 67 of 68 shots in his building.
The Red Wings are certainly looking forward to getting back to Detroit again.
“We knew they were going to come out on fire at home, and we weathered it OK,” Red Wings forward Henrik Zetterberg said. “Just have to flush this and go home and enjoy Game 6.”
Red Wings defenseman Jonathan Ericsson said, “We don't want to come back here at all. We know what we have to do, and we get another chance at The Joe."
What the Blackhawks will be looking to do is repeat the process that led to their win in Game 5.
“You got to commend the guys,” Quenneville said. “I thought their attitude [Friday] was tremendous. They could have been walking around here thinking like it was an awful spot, but they had the right approach. It was very positive.”