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Time to panic? No way, say Hawks, who look to steal momentum
By Tim Sassone | Daily Herald Staff

Chicago Blackhawks players, left to right, Andrew Ladd, Patrick Sharp, and Ben Eager watch the Calgary Flames celebrate a win during the third period of an NHL hockey playoff game in Calgary, Alberta


Associated Press

Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, center, looks to the scoreboard with players Dustin Byfuglien, left, and Adam Burish.


Associated Press

Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane, right, celebrates his goal as Calgary Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff, from Finland, looks away during the first period of an NHL hockey playoff game in Calgary, Alberta, Wednesday, April 22, 2009. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Jeff McIntosh)


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Published: 4/23/2009 4:11 PM

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Consider it another lesson in the playoff education of the Blackhawks.

A 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series with the Calgary Flames has evaporated, and now the Hawks must find a way to get the momentum back on their side with it deadlocked at 2-2.

Certainly it will help being back at the United Center for Game 5 on Saturday night after dropping two straight at the hostile Saddledome in Calgary.

"It's a three-game series now and we like the way we play at home," Hawks defenseman Cam Barker said.

"We've got to get some enthusiasm the next couple days, and being back at the United Center should help," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "Being consistent and playing the way we have all year at home is what we're looking for."

There was no panic in the dressing room on Wednesday following Game 4 when the Hawks rallied from a 4-1 deficit only to lose 6-4.

It was a night when the Hawks' best players struggled, from goalie Nikolai Khabibulin to defenseman Duncan Keith to forwards Jonathan Toews and Martin Havlat.

The Hawks aren't going to win the series without their best players outplaying Calgary's Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff and Olli Jokinen.

"We just have to use that energy and momentum (at home) like we did in the first two games and get back on the horse here," Toews said. "I think we just need a little extra push.

"We're going to stay positive here and not change our attitude. It was tough to give up two games on the road, but we're going to keep the same mentality and keep playing harder. There's no reason to get down on ourselves. We're still in a good spot. We're going to be excited to play in our own building and put these last two behind us."

Thursday's off day came at a great time for both teams after four highly physical and emotional games.

The Flames lost centers Craig Conroy and Daymond Langkow in Game 4 with injuries, and their status for Saturday was up in the air on Thursday.

"Langkow got hit on the hand by a shot (from Brian Campbell) and we're hoping it's just a bruise, but we'll see," Flames coach Mike Keenan said. "And Conroy is day-to-day."

Pesky Flames winger Rene Bourque also missed Game 4 with an undisclosed injury.

As for the Hawks, Keith and Havlat seemed to be behind the play much of the night on Wednesday and look to be either hurting or possibly battling the same flu that sidelined Patrick Kane in Game 3.

The Hawks definitely weren't as physical in the two games in Calgary, outhit by the Flames 75-46.

"They're a veteran team that outworked us at home," Barker said.

"It's frustrating letting them back in the series, but we knew they weren't going anywhere," Toews said. "We just have to battle and get the momentum swinging back in our favor."

Game 6 will be back in Calgary on Monday, and the Hawks know what it would mean to go back to the Saddledome trailing 3-2 in the series.

"Our confidence level still is really high," Campbell said. "Obviously there are a lot of ups and downs in the playoffs, but we've been doing a lot of good things."

Keeping the momentum now is on the shoulders of the Flames.

"We have to find a way to win on the road," Calgary winger Eric Nystrom said.