CHICAGO – Jonathan Toews says it’s time for the Chicago Blackhawks to start imposing their will on the Stanley Cup final.
The Blackhawks captain spoke firmly ahead of Game 5 with the Philadelphia Flyers and sounded like a guy who was ready to start rallying his team.
“We’ve got to believe it’s ours,” Toews said Sunday after the morning skate. “It truly is, and we’ve got to find a way to go out and take it. As a team, (we have to) look at each other and find a little extra something there. We know we have got more as a team.
“We haven’t got to that level yet.”
Toews has been held to just one point in the championship series and expects better things of himself as well. Coach Joel Quenneville thinks it will happen in the biggest games of the season.
“The bigger the game, the bigger the setting, he seems to rise to the occasion and the challenge,” said Quenneville. “He’s always been a key guy for us. A big leader.”
The Blackhawks coach wouldn’t reveal any planned line changes ahead of the game. He had the team’s traditional first line together during the morning skate—Toews between Patrick Kane and Dustin Byfuglien.
Forward Andrew Ladd and defenceman Duncan Keith weren’t on the ice at United Center on Sunday morning but are expected to play in Game 5.
“(Ladd) and Dunks were just resting,” said Quenneville.
Even the players seemed a little unsure about who they’d be playing with. The Blackhawks have been known to juggle their lines frequently throughout the season.
“We’ll find out tonight,” said Blackhawks forward Ben Eager. “The balls are still spinning in there.”
The Flyers weren’t expected to do any lineup tinkering after winning the last two games at Wachovia Center to even the series 2-2.
They appeared relaxed on Sunday morning—something coach Peter Laviolette was happy to see.
“I know they kick a soccer ball around to stay loose,” said Laviolette. “I think it’s important—there’s obviously a lot of intensity and pressure when you get to these situations. I think it’s really important that you stay loose and do whatever you can to try and hold that pressure at bay, and really that will allow you to perform out on the ice.
“When you don’t perform, usually the pressure eats you up a little bit.”
The pressure appears to be on the Blackhawks entering Game 5. Once heavy favourites in the series, they seem to have given up momentum in the series to Philadelphia.
They hope to steal it back on Sunday night.
“If we want it bad enough,” said Toews. “We can get it.”