CHICAGO | Bryan Bickell played four games for the Blackhawks in the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, following 16 appearances in the regular season.
None of those playoff outings were in the Stanley Cup Final, and because he didn’t play in half the regular season games, the big forward’s name wasn’t engraved on the Stanley Cup.
That’s something he’d like to rectify, preferably as early as Monday night, when the Hawks face Boston in TD Garden with the Cup in the building.
But how to go about one’s business when the reward is so immense?
“It’s in the back of our minds, but you need to look past that,” Bickell said. “I know the nerves will affect some guys, but we just need to play hockey and battle out there, I guess.”
Bickell, a regular on the squad beginning in the fall of 2010, battled on Saturday night, collecting one assist, six hits and uncounted bruises in the course of the Hawks’ 3-1 victory over the Bruins that gave them a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series.
One win of the next two games, and the engraver of the Cup at a jewelry shop in Montreal will have to tap out Bickell’s name with a chisel.
“It’s going to be exciting,” Bickell said. “One win from the ultimate goal when you’re a kid, to win the Cup.
“It’s going to be a hard task going to Boston.”
Nobody in either locker room expects anything less. The Bruins were down 3-2 in the 2011 Final to Vancouver, won Game 6 at home, then won Game 7 in Vancouver to collect the Cup.
“We’re going to fight with everything we have and force Game 7,” Bruins forward David Krejci said. “We’ve been down this road before. We’re not going to give them anything easily. If they want to win the Cup, they’re going to have to fight for it because we’re going to be ready.”
The Hawks are also in familiar territory, leading the series going on the road for Game 6, as they did in 2010, when Patrick Kane’s overtime goal earned them the big prize.
“I’m sure guys are going to think about it,” Hawks defenseman Brent Seabrook said. “I mean, it’s the Stanley Cup.”
Crow flies high: After surrendering five goals against Boston in Game 4 – and winning – Corey Crawford stopped 23 of 24 pucks the Bruins sent his way in Game 5. His teammates never list faith in him.
“I knew he was going to come back,” defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “I know how he responds. It was an overall bad defensive game the last game. It wasn’t just him. It was the whole team. We let up way too many ‘A’ chances. Today, when the whole team plays better, you get results.”
Crawford did what a goaltender always does, credited his teammates.
“It's been the same story that we've done all year, the great sticks, taking away those passing lanes and just let me play the shot,” Crawford said. “Some big blocks, too, throughout the game. There was a ton of traffic in front and they were able to get a big block out at the point.”
Faceoff success for Hawks: Jonathan Toews played two periods, but he was a demon on faceoffs, winning nine of the 12 draws he lined up for, pacing the Hawks in that regard. They won 33 of 57 faceoffs, or 57.9 percent, with Michal Handzus, brutal in Game 3, winning 11 of 18 himself. Game 5 was the first time in the series the Hawks won more than half the faceoffs in a contest.
Around the Final: Winning Game 5 gave the Hawks a leg up but no guarantee of clutching the Cup. Four of the last six times the situation existed, the team trailing 3-2 entering Game 6 has swept the last two games and won the championship, including Boston’s rally in 2011. ... The Hawks are 18-4 in the Games 5-7 of a series under Joel Quenneville. ... Patrick Kane leads the Hawks with 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) in 22 playoff games.