Apr 19, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) makes a pass as St. Louis Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (27) defends during the third period in game two of the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: Chicago Blackhawks Head Home for Must-Win Game 3 Against St. Louis Blues

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The times are desperate, yes.  But not as desperate as they immediately seem.

Yes, the Chicago Blackhawks are in trouble, big trouble.  They are down 2 games to none, in this playoff series, against the St. Louis Blues.  

Sounds bad, yes, but the Hawks shouldn’t have to change much, to get their first win, of the series, as they have played practically on par, with the Blues, this series.  With both games going into at least one overtime, after the Blues were able to tie each game, in the final minutes, of regulation, were very close to having the 2-0 series lead.

However, the fact remains that the Hawks are down 2-0, in the series, even though they have played close to their competition.  Changes do need to be made.

Let’s take a look at how each team has played, this series.

Team
Goals For Per Game
Goals Against Per Game
Power Play Percentage
Penalty Kill Percentage
Faceoff Percentage
Corsi For Percentage
Blackhawks3.004.0010.0%92.3%54.7%49.4%
Blues4.003.007.7%90.0%45.3%50.6%

As you can see, the Hawks have been statistically close, or even better than the Blues.  It has been an air-tight series so far, but unfortunately, the Blues have taken all the wins.  The problem, for the Hawks lies in the fact that they have allowed the Blues t enter their heads, at the wrong times.  This results in the Hawks not playing Blackhawks hockey.  They instead start playing Blues hockey, which is physical, but borderline dirty style.  This is exactly what the Blues want, as they are getting the Hawks off their game, and making them easy to play against, at clutch times.  The Hawks need to be smarter, and the wins will show up.

The Blues are sitting pretty with a 2-0 lead, in the series, but after Game 2’s rowdiness, they are looking a little banged up.  After the hi t heard ’round the world, David Backes is questionable at best, for tonight’s Game 3 matchup.  Vladimir Tarasenko is also questionable, after injuring his knees, in the 3rd period, on Saturday.  Missing either player would be a huge blow, to the Blues.  However, the Blues still have Jaden Schwartz and T.J. Oshieso they are still in good hands.  After 2 games, in this series, defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk currently leads the Blues, in points.

In net, will once again be Ryan Miller, for the Blues.  With the exception of a bad 1st period, in Game 1, and a bad 3rd period, in Game 2, Miller has been lights-out, for St. Louis.  If he can stay on his game, the Blues will likely eliminate the Hawks.  If he somehow starts to falter and struggle again, then anything could happen.

The Blackhawks need to be in desperation mode, but also remember to keep their thinking caps on, as Game 2 wasn’t exactly their most well-thought game played.  They will have to find a way to win without the help of clutch playoff defenseman, Brent Seabrookwho will be suspended for the next 3 games, following his hit on Backes, in Game 2.  This will force Head Coach Joel Quenneville to juggle his defensive pairings a bit.  Speaking of defensemen, blueliners scored all of the Hawks’ goals, in Game 2.  The forwards need to find a way to generate more offense, if the Hawks want any chance of coming back.

Brandon Saad has 3 points(all assists) to lead Hawks forwards.  Hopefully Patrick Kane adjusts to life with the knee-brace, soon, as an offensive breakout, from him would be huge.  Similar to Kane, Jonathan Toews should be back up to speed, after missing time, and returning in time, for this series.  The Hawks definitely need both Kane and Toews to shine, if they want to spark a comeback.

In net, for the Hawks will be Corey Crawfordonce again.  Crawford’s numbers aren’t very pretty, but he has made some big saves, and has at least been able to keep the Hawks alive to see overtime.

This is a big one.  A loss at home may as well end the series, as that would be a tough one to overcome.  So, this is a must-win, for the Hawks.  A win at home may give the Hawks enough spark to climb back, in the series, with the next game to be played, in Chicago as well.  It’s been a very entertaining series so far, and Game 3 will be no different.

Go Hawks!

 

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Tags: Brent Seabrook Chicago Blackhawks Game 3 Playoffs Rivalry United Center

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