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Hawks ready to keep roll going

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DETROIT -- If there's one thing the Blackhawks know about themselves, it's that they have the ability to get on a serious roll.

The Hawks team that needs to win the next two against the Red Wings to advance to the Western Conference finals is the same group that began the season with an NHL-record streak of 24 games without a regulation loss. During the 48-game, lockout-shortened regular season, the Hawks had winning streaks of three or longer five times, including runs of four, six, seven and a franchise-record 11 games.

While post-season hockey is a different animal, knowing they have what it takes to string together victories lurks in the recesses of the Hawks' psyche.

"That definitely helps," defenceman Duncan Keith said. "We're a confident group."

Typically, no one on the Hawks wants to talk about a potential Game 7, instead choosing to focus on Game 6 tonight at Joe Louis Arena. A victory would even the series at 3-3 and the teams then would head to Chicago for the decisive showdown.

"We know we just have to go in there and win one game," Keith said Sunday. "We're not looking at it like we have to win two games, we're looking at it like we have to win one and that starts (Monday night).

"They're trying to close us out, we're trying to win a hockey game and tie up the series," he added. "I don't really look at it any more than that."

That the Hawks staved off elimination with a 4-1 win in Game 5 on Saturday was one thing, but the way they went about it was another. The Hawks dominated the Wings in all facets to clobber a team that had won three in a row to take control of the series.

"Through those three games we lost in a row, it wasn't too promising on the momentum side, but to get that win and get that confidence back and momentum on our side going into (Game 6) is going to be important," winger Bryan Bickell said. "We have to take it shift by shift, period by period and we just need to bring it like we did (Saturday night)."

"That's our game," he added. "The 'D' corps to everybody (was) clicking and everybody was on the rush. We had control of the game. When we do that we're a hard team to beat. Confidence goes a long way in playoffs. We just need to build off it."

The Hawks are playing with a sense of desperation, not panic. They believe they have turned the tables and the Wings now are the team facing pressure knowing if they don't win at home, it's up for grabs.

"The pressure is on them to eliminate us," Hawks forward Andrew Shaw said. "They kind of have our backs against the wall and we're pushing back. That makes us a dangerous team."

Added Keith: "We have to go in and play our best game, nothing more than that. We can think we have the momentum and if we don't show up to play, we're not going to win. ... It's the playoffs. You have to have that do-or-die mentality and everyone going for it."

-- Chicago Tribune

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 27, 2013 $sourceSection0

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