The last time the Chicago Blackhawks were attempting to repeat as champions, they fought back from a deep series deficit against the rival Vancouver Canucks only to lose in Game 7 of overtime. Even so, that was in the first round, not the Western Conference finals.
Considering how narrowly the Los Angeles Kings defeated Chicago on Sunday, it’s not surprising that the Blackhawks had mixed feelings after the 5-4 overtime defeat.
Don’t make any mistake about it, though: that loss was more painful than anything else.
The cruel nature of a playoff overtime loss is only maximized when it decides a series. One can imagine that the Blackhawks faced a feeling of shock, even if they were in that position years before.
Quenneville said he “couldn’t be prouder” of the efforts put forth by the Blackhawks and lingered on how close they really were. The thing is, those brutally close losses can often be the most haunting. He rightly said that “both teams left it out there,” yet it seems like it might take time for this loss to totally sink in.
This is also from the same series that included a win that Coach Q called the “greatest overtime game he’s ever seen” so one might say it’s fitting that the Blackhawks’ season ended with another OT thriller.
Chicago is unlikely to agree that this is a fitting end, however.