Game 6: All About the Mindset

Like most people, I was impressed by the Blackhawks comeback win to clinch the Stanley Cup last night. Reflecting on the game and the win, I realized I shouldn’t have been that surprised. The Blackhawks won, not because of anything technical they did, but because of their mindset and approach to the game.

After the first period, shot attempts were 32-8 for Boston. Chicago was being outplayed – badly. But they went into the locker room only down by one goal. Mentally, they were in a pretty good spot. They knew they were outplayed, but they had the confidence that they were able to keep Boston at bay despite not having their best period.

After the second, the game was tied 1-1…a huge confidence boost for the ‘Hawks. They fought through two sub-par periods and after 40 minutes they were tied with an opponent who was outplaying them. As a coach and a team, this is a confidence builder. When you know you can hang with your opponent, you just have to keep fighting until you find your game.

When the Bruins took a one goal lead and time wound down, you could see the Bruins body language relax just a little. Tuuka Rask was playing well (again) and they had been the better team all night. Meanwhile, Chicago became a little more aggressive, working to get pucks in deep and go chase them. Being the aggressor builds confidence, as teams hate having to break out against a potent forcheck time and time again.

Finally, when Chicago broke through for the first goal, you could almost feel a huge momentum swing. The Bruins were trying to talk themselves off their heels and stop playing defensive, while the ‘Hawks were getting up and making plays. The pressure of the game had shifted to the home team and all Chicago had to do was put pucks on net and get to the dirty areas.

While execution and a few fortuitous bounces certainly helped, the mindset and mental approach that Chicago had throughout the game was the ultimate difference and why they were able to stage a miraculous comeback and put an end to such a great series after 6 game (and a few overtimes).

How the Kings Won Game One