Chicago Blackhawks forward Viktor Stalberg said before Game 6 in Detroit that the pressure was off the Blackhawks and firmly back on the shoulders of the Red Wings. We still can’t say where the pressure was before the game but after, it’s clear that both teams are shouldering equal pressure as we’re headed for a Game 7 Wednesday night.
The Blackhawks were up against a wall they’ve never been against this year as they were in a 3-1 hole through four games against the Red Wings this series. But despite how brilliant Jimmy Howard has been for Detroit between the pipes this series, Chicago’s offense has come back to life in the last two games and has allowed them to tie the series and send it back to Chicago.
Detroit didn’t give up without a fight though as they scored a goal with six skaters on the ice with under a minute left to make it a one goal game. But the Blackhawks were able to avoid a late game collapse and locked down their defense in the final seconds to force a Game 7.
But now that the Hawks have finally caught up to the Wings, the pressure isn’t off either team. Rather, the pressure is possibly on more so than it has been up to this point as both Chicago and Detroit have a ton to lose if they can’t win Game 7.
For the Red Wings, it would be the completion of an epic collapse after they flew so close to the sun. No one gave Detroit a realistic chance of beating the Blackhawks in this series but they raced out to a 3-1 series lead and started dragging Chicago behind the shed rather early on in the series. But there has been some sort of breakdown in Detroit that has them on the brink of doing something not many thought possible from how they had been playing — losing three straight games.
But Chicago has almost more to lose as a loss in Game 7 would mean they not only fell short of the series comeback but their record breaking season would come to an end short of a Stanley Cup. The season didn’t start with expectations this high but their record breaking pace to start the season combined with how dominant they appeared all season quickly made them the best team in hockey.
There can only be one, but the Blackhawks and Red Wings are on a collision course with a definitive Game 7. Jimmy Howard has one more chance to redeem himself from the last two games he’s played in and the Blackhawks are gasping one last breath in their season as they struggle for more air.
We didn’t think it would go a full seven, but now that it has, we’re in for one heck of a hockey game on Wednesday night and it’s one that won’t at all disappoint.