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updated: 6/1/2014 6:42 AM

Blackhawks, Kings put it all on the line in Game 7

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  • Kings goalie Jonathan Quick blocks a shot by Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell as Kings' Jake Muzzin helps defend during Game 6, which went to the Hawks to set up Sunday night's Game 7 at the United Center.

      Kings goalie Jonathan Quick blocks a shot by Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell as Kings' Jake Muzzin helps defend during Game 6, which went to the Hawks to set up Sunday night's Game 7 at the United Center.
    Associated Press

 
 

Joel Quenneville will never forget the last time his Blackhawks were in this situation.

Fighting back to force a Game 7 after trailing 3-1 to open the series.

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At the United Center.

Against Detroit.

In overtime.

And that shot by Brent Seabrook.

"I thought it was a tremendous game," Quenneville recalled. "We had a great start. They had a good third period.

"And then Seabs coming down Main Street to score a big goal for us. It was a heck of a game."

Sunday night, the Hawks look to make some magic again in a Game 7 when they host the Los Angeles Kings, a team they trailed 3-1 before a pair of magical victories put them on the cusp of a return trip to the Stanley Cup Final.

"I don't look at it as pressure, I think it's been fun," Quenneville said. "I think we've been in a real interesting situation these last two games. I thought as this series has gone on we've gotten better and better. We're looking to play our best tomorrow."

History says they will. In Games 5 through 7 the last two postseasons, the Hawks are a whopping 13-0, and 5-0 when facing elimination.

But history says the Kings will as well. They had to win their last two Game 7s on the road this postseason -- against San Jose and Anaheim -- to get to this point.

"I just think what it does is it can take you away from any of the anxiety of it," Kings coach Darryl Sutter said of the experience. "I don't look at it like it's Game 7. I just look at it like we're going to do everything we can to beat Chicago.

"Just like we did (Friday) and just like we did the night before. And somebody outside's not going to decide how we play or any of that. We'll just stay focused on what we can control and play the game."

But, seriously, good luck trying to pick a winner in what has been an epic battle between a couple of gladiators.

"You can feel it's high-level hockey that we're playing, that's for sure," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "They're bringing it every game; they're a machine-like team. We just have to try to match that.

"I really think this series deserved a Game 7, and I think the crowd deserved it, too. And I think it's going to be a great finish to a great series.

"Hopefully we'll be the winner out of this one, but it's been some really good hockey that's been played in these games."

While the Hawks have a handful of players who have come through big time in the biggest games -- Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, for example -- the Kings have Mr. Game 7 himself in Justin Williams. The veteran forward has 12 points in six career Game 7s.

"Being self-driven is part of how we got here," Williams said. "We're successful hockey players because we've been able to rise to the challenge every time it's come toward us.

"Right now we're just forgetting all this other junk that's going on. We're in Game 7, the best team's going to win tomorrow, and that's that.

"And we're going to make sure it's us."

Fasten your seat belts.

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