CHICAGO - Patrick Kane, the Chicago Blackhawks' slumping scoring star, is only four years into his NHL career, but he knows enough about the history to understand the formidable task facing his team now.
The Blackhawks are down 3-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarter-final series against the Vancouver Canucks. Only three teams in history have ever dug themselves out of that sort of a hole. One, however, happened to be the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, who overcame the Boston Bruins in the conference semi-finals last year en route to meeting - and subsequently losing - to the Blackhawks in the Stanley Cup final, where Kane scored the winning goal.
So the cup half-full side of Kane understands that while it happens only once every third of a century or so (1942 and 1975 the only two other times such a comeback has been mounted), it does happen.
"We're obviously in a pretty tough position, but you never know in this league," said Kane. "That's why it's a best-of-seven series and why you play first to four. So we'll see what happens. We want to leave it on the ice and have a sense of pride in here - to give the fans a good show and be proud of the organization we play for."
Defenceman Duncan Keith echoed Kane's sentiment about pride, noting: "That's what it's all about - pride - and we have a lot of pride in this room. We worked hard all season long.
"Knowing that we're facing one game and our season could be over, that says it all right there. We'll see what kind of battle level - and how hard we can compete - to keep it going."
To a man, the Blackhawks were mouthing the obligatory sentiments Monday - that they cannot think about four games, only about one, and maybe the only good news is that two of their useful forwards up front, Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell, may be ready to play in tonight's fourth game. Bolland has been recovering from a concussion and has yet to play in this series. Bickell has been absent since Game 1. The two add depth to a team seriously lacking in that area right now.
Defenceman Brent Seabrook is also expected to play, despite being on the receiving end of a crushing hit from the Canucks' Raffi Torres. Keith, Seabrook's long-time defence partner, said the team would take motivation from the Torres incident, "but at the same time, there's no talk about getting back at Torres. Our season's on the line. We've got to win the game."
As for the Canucks, despite their 3-0 series lead, team captain Henrik Sedin said he thought the team can still be better.
"I don't think we've showed up yet for 60 minutes in the series and I'm sure they'd like to think they can play better, so ... I think we've had games this year that have been better than these three games, but we're happy with the results."