After back-to-back tough losses to the Tampa Bay Lightning in games 2 and 3, the Chicago Blackhawks find themselves in a familiar position. This is not the first time the Blackhawks have found themselves in a 2-1 hole in the Stanley Cup Final. In a lockout shortened season, the Blackhawks went down 2-1 against the Boston Bruins in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final.
After the Blackhawks won game 1 in 2013, the Bruins went on to win the next two games. Sounds familiar?
The Blackhawks won the next three games of that series to win it all in Game 6 in Boston which featured one of the greatest playoff moments in Chicago sports history. That moment is known across the Blackhawks fanbase as “17 seconds”.
With all of that said, this is a different Blackhawks team then from two years ago and a different opponent. The Blackhawks still have a lot of players from that championship team including Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Corey Crawford, but guys like Patrick Sharp are older and haven’t made a positive impact in the first three games of this series.
Patrick Kane has been almost non-existent the first three games of this series while Toews hasn’t made much more of an impact. There has been just one combined point and less than 15 shots on goal between Kane and Toews in this series. While I doubt that both of them will stay quiet for long, the Blackhawks need them to show up immediately.
Corey Crawford was heavily criticized in the Nashville series but has improved greatly since. While Crawford may have given up a couple of weak goals in this series, he’s the main reason why the Blackhawks aren’t down 0-3 right now. It is just as easy to say that the Blackhawks could be and maybe should be up 3-0 right now but “could be” and “should be” mean nothing in the Stanley Cup Final. Whether you win by a couple lucky bounces of the puck that find the back of the net or lose by missing a few shots by a matter of inches, a win is a win and a loss is a loss.
The Blackhawks need to get their offense going and fast. They generated some good scoring chances in Game 3 but missed a couple open nets and couldn’t get the puck by Bishop off some rebounds. The Blackhawks are not panicking nor should they but they have to play with high intensity and a sense of urgency in Game 4. The 2013 Stanley Cup Final isn’t the first time the Blackhawks were down 2-1 to a tough opponent. The Blackhawks were down 2-1 and then 3-2 in the last series against Anaheim. The problem the Blackhawks are currently dealing with is that Tampa is a fast and young team that can match the Blackhawks speed at both ends of the ice. T
he Blackhawks also gave them one of the most dangerous things… confidence. While not impossible to come out of, the Blackhawks do not want to find themselves down 3-1 after tomorrow night.
Game 4 must be looked at as a must win.