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Hossa knows all about Cup-clinching pressure

06/08/2010 11:08 AM

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--  As the Chicago Blackhawks gather round to discuss what approaching a Stanley Cup clinching game is all about, the player whose opinions ought to be sought out most is Marian Hossa, who has played in the past two Stanley Cup Finals, albeit in losing efforts.
Last year, Hossa's Detroit Red Wings were in a position to win the Cup in Game 6, but fell short, so he knows all about what needs to get done.
"Well, we know it's going to be the toughest game to close it," Hossa said. "Having been in that situation, especially last year, the momentum in the first shift next game, first goal is going to be so important to get the momentum like tonight. That's going to be so important for us to start really well."
And it sounds like Hossa will have some teammates playing close attention knowing at some point Wednesday evening the Stanley Cup will enter Wachovia Center.
"We've been pretty good on the road throughout the whole playoffs," Patrick Kane said. "Didn't play the way we wanted to, obviously, in Games 3 and 4, but I think you saw tonight, you get out to an early lead, it benefits your whole team game. If we can do that, get the lead on the road and play a simple game like we have been throughout the playoffs, it obviously should help.

"I think we got two days off here to kind of get ourselves ready for the challenge," Kane said. "It's exciting. We have one more win and you have the grand prize."

But sitting in the other dressing room, the Flyers' Chris Pronger, bloodied but unbowed after a tough Game 5, sounded the clarion call that the Flyers aren't going quietly into that good night.

"You know what, we play very well at home and the crowd will be behind us, much like theirs was tonight," Pronger said. "We seem to like to make things difficult on ourselves, so this is no different.

"We understand what is at stake and Peter (Laviolette) has been there before as well and he's done a pretty good job thus far of keeping everybody's focus and pointing out what we need to do after tough games like we had today.

"It's the Final, crowd is behind you, you've got the last line change, you get your matchups," Pronger said. "You feed off that energy in the building. It’s funny about the fans, but it seems to go that way all the time. You look around in the first three rounds and teams are getting knocked off at home left and right. And you get to the Final and teams seem to hold serve. Hopefully, we can hold serve in Game 6."

History favors Hawks -- In the 20 previous Stanley Cup Final series tied 2-2, the club winning Game 5 has won the Stanley Cup 14 times, or 70 percent of the time.
The six clubs that successfully overcame a Game 5 loss: the 1950 Detroit Red Wings, 1964 Toronto Maple Leafs, 1971 Montreal Canadiens, 2001 Colorado Avalanche, 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning and 2009 Pittsburgh Penguins.
Goal-a-palooza -- The Blackhawks have scored 21 goals in the series, the Flyers 19, making this the highest-scoring Final after five games since 1981 when the New York Islanders and Minnesota North Stars combined for 42 in a five-game series win for the Islanders. The five-game total this year is more than the total of any Final, of any length, since the New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks scored 40 times in the Rangers' seven-game victory in 1994.
Score first, win game -- When the Blackhawks score first, as they did in Game 5, they generally come away with a win. The Blackhawks are 9-1 in the postseason and 2-0 in the Final when scoring the first goal.
Viva Ville -- With 3 assists in Game 5, the Flyers' Ville Leino now has 19 points this postseason (7 goals, 12 assists) and now ranks third on the Stanley Cup list of points by a rookie in one playoff year. Leino trails only Dino Ciccarelli, who has 21 points in 1981 and Don Maloney, who had 20 points in 1979.