If the Blackhawks learned anything from the last round against Detroit, it's that no lead is safe -- not even a 3-1 advantage in a series.
That's why the Hawks are taking a guarded approach to Saturday's Game 5 of the Western Conference finals.
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The Hawks can close out the Kings with another win and return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second time in four years, this time to play Boston, but they know Los Angeles won't go quietly.
"I think we can just go into (Game 5) with the mindset that we're down 3-1," said captain Jonathan Toews, who helped lead the Hawks back from a 3-1 deficit against the Red Wings. "You know the other team's going to come at you hard, but it's up to you to motivate yourself and try and put yourself in that position where you feel like you're in a seventh game or your back's up against the wall.
"I think that's when you play with the most desperation, so we did that (Thursday) and we know we have to raise our level of play even more."
The Bruins advanced to the Finals on Friday with a 1-0 win over Pittsburgh, completing the four-game sweep.
If the Hawks win Saturday, the Finals would start Wednesday at the United Center.
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville is expecting the Kings to play their best game of the series.
"Everybody's got to be aware that (Game 5) is going to be a heck of a battle and let's get ready for the start knowing that they're Cup champs for a reason," Quenneville said. "Let's go do what we have to do, but Games 1, 2 and 4 is how we have to play and finish like that."
The Kings have no answer for the Hawks' transition game, which has been dominating at times. If the Kings turn the puck over, which they have done with regularity, the Hawks are right back in their face.
"Their transition game is really hard to handle," Kings captain Dustin Brown said. "You're ultimately going one way and they're going another. You just have to learn with the mistakes."
Turnovers have killed the Kings.
"That's one thing Darryl (Sutter) has been hard on us right now," said Kings defenseman Drew Doughty. "We're making too many turnovers in the neutral zone especially and that was the cause on 2 of the goals we allowed (Thursday). We'd turn the puck over and they would come down on odd-man rushes and score. If we want to win, we can't be doing that."
"It's an incredibly skilled team," said Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi. "We're not getting into something we didn't know. When you turn the puck over like that at the blue line, with the skill they have, it's only a matter of time before they put one on the scoreboard."
The Kings had only 2 shots on goal in the third period of their 3-2 loss in Game 4.
"We've got to find a way to get more pucks to the net," Brown said. "They play their game well and keep us to the outside."
The Kings also have no answer for Bryan Bickell. The Hawks' left winger scored his third goal of the series Thursday and eighth of the playoffs.
"He's playing with a purpose," Quenneville said.
"He's been probably the most important player on our team," Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "He's doing everything, scoring goals, big hits for us, just a big body out there. He's been unbelievable in the playoffs, that's for sure."
Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who was supposed to be the star of the series, let in a poor goal by Bickell in Game 4 and is getting outplayed by Corey Crawford.
Crawford kept the Hawks in Game 4 even when they were trailing 1-0 and then 2-1.
"Being down a goal and then being down again, it just showed some character to stick with our game," Crawford said. "It's been like that all playoffs where it doesn't really matter what happens, we believe, and if we keep going we're going to have a chance."
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what the Kings have to do Saturday.
"We just have to go in there and win one game, that's it," Quick said. "We've won there before, obviously not this series, but we've won there before."
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