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Wednesday, June 12

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« A Good Weekend for the Outfit Stanley Cup Final Game 3: Advantage Bruins »

Blackhawks Mon Jun 17 2013

Blackhawks Poised For Game 3 In Beantown

Thumbnail image for GB blackhawks icon.png After another thrilling overtime game in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, which for whatever reason was aired on NBC Sports Network instead of NBC national, the Blackhawks now find themselves tied at one game apiece with the Boston Bruins. The Hawks came out guns blazing in the first period, outshooting the Bruins 19-4. But another bad day at the office for faceoffs and the power play helped lead to a 2-1 loss to tie the series up.

With the series now shifting out east to Bahhh-ston, the Hawks look to gain back home ice and shake off what was a bad turnover, which led to the game-winning goal for Daniel Paille. The turnover came off the stick of Brandon Bollig, who was filling in for the "healthy-scratched" Viktor Stålberg, which was a decision by Coach Joel Quenneville for who knows what reason. But you can't blame one guy for the loss -- it just was a bad play all around.

For what it's worth, Stålberg was spotted at this morning's skate at Boston's TD Garden without the "Scarlet-Lettered" white jersey, so he should play tonight, which should add some extra speed. Either way, the Bruins stole home ice, and the recent trend of the Hawks' Game 3 games doesn't lead one to think they'll win tonight. But, that's why they play the games.

Game 3 against the Minnesota Wild ended in a 3-2 loss in overtime. Everyone knows what happened in Game 3 against the Red Wings, which ended in a 3-1 loss in Detroit. And then there was the 3-1 loss in Los Angeles against the Kings when Patrick Sharp suddenly became Señor Tough Guy with roughing and slashing penalties.

So it's safe to say the Hawks are due in Game 3s; however, cutting down on turnovers and lifting the puck against Tuukka Rask only will help contribute to breaking that trend. The last time the Hawks were even at one game apiece this season was when the Red Wings stopped them cold at home. It was then the Hawks began to learn a little about adversity.

"I think with championship teams, when there's adversity, they embrace it," said Hawks center Michal Handzuš, who was traded to the Hawks on April 1. "It's a long road to the Stanley Cup, and I think you're going to get a lot of adversity and different moments. You have to have fun with it and look at it as a challenge."

Adversity with the Hawks has come more often in the later periods than recent, and that has occurred pretty much throughout the entire regular season. It seemed the Hawks would come out swinging for the fences early, and let's face it, they are built for speed and offense, from lines one through three. But then near the third period, the defense would appear to rest on its heels during the back and forecheck, which eventually would allow for teams to chip back into a game.

It's not to say the Hawks get lazy about these sorts of things; it's hard to determine the exact reason for it. But it seems whenever their backs are against the wall, they then step up on defense and play as if there's no tomorrow. See Games 5, 6 and 7 against Detroit, and Game 5 against Los Angeles.

Since right before the action in Game 2, captain Jonathan Toews received the Frank J. Selke Trophy, which is awarded to the best-defending forward on the ice. Toews beat out the Bruins' Patrice Bergeron for the award. Toews will need to keep up his defensive efforts going into tonight's game in order to give the Hawks a chance at bringing home a much bigger prized possession -- The Stanley Cup.

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