Chance to clinch Stanley Cup at home? Just fleeting thought to Blackhawks

Blackhawks dare to dream — briefly — about wrapping up Stanley Cup Final at home.

The last two times the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the immediate celebrations were on the road. In Philadelphia in 2010 and in Boston in 2013, there were player parties on the ice with few fans left in the stands to help provide the background music of applause to go with the hoisting of the Stanley Cup.

If the Hawks beat the Lightning in Game 5 in Tampa, Fla., on Saturday night, they will return to the United Center with a chance to clinch a championship at home for the first time since 1938 in Game 6 on Monday.

Not that the Hawks, who are tied 2-2 in the Stanley Cup Final against the Lightning, are allowing themselves to think that far ahead.

"There are moments when you let yourself daydream," captain Jonathan Toews said Thursday. "All of a sudden you catch yourself getting ahead of yourself. You need to snap back to right here, right now."

But the idea of winning the Final at home is inspiring.

"It's definitely motivation," goaltender Corey Crawford said. "But right now, our thought process is on Game 5."

For 40-year-old winger Kimmo Timonen, who is chasing his first Stanley Cup championship, it's nearly impossible not to imagine the moment.

"In the big picture, for me obviously, when I made this comeback early in the year, this was the dream," he said. "I can't lie to you that I'm not dreaming about it. But you still have to just focus on task in hand."

The Blackhawks split their first two games in Tampa and are 6-5 on the road through the playoffs. Playing in Tampa for Game 5 is an "opportunity," Toews said.

"We feel we can raise our play and find ways to take that (home) energy away, make things difficult on a team in their own building," he said.

Bounce back: Trevor van Riemsdyk bounced back from some rookie mistakes in Game 4.

The Hawks defenseman, who was playing in just his second Stanley Cup Final game Wednesday night, lost the puck and helped allow the Lightning to tie the game 1-1 in the second period. He was shelved for most of the second period after that but played three shifts in the third.

According to coach Joel Quenneville, that goal has been forgiven.

"It was one shift he got stuck out there," he said. "You can't get off. You're dead tired. Hopefully you can get a whistle or a save or a clear. Sometimes it goes in.

"But positionally we like the way he thinks the game. He has a good stick. Offensively makes a lot of nice, simple plays. Has a good gap. He's everything you look for in a defenseman."

Iron man — within limit: Defenseman Duncan Keith is known for his endurance on the ice, leading the Hawks in minutes played. He ranks second among NHL players this season, averaging 31 minutes 14 seconds.

Asked if he ever played an entire game at any level, Keith said he couldn't remember.

"I know one year (in the minor leagues), the whole year we only had four defensemen," he said.

sryan@tribpub.com

Twitter @sryantribune

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