May 5, 2013; Saint Paul, MN, USA; Minnesota Wild forward Kyle Brodziak (21) hits Chicago Blackhawks forward Michal Rozsival (32) during the second period in game three of the first round of the 2013 Stanley Cup playoffs at Xcel Energy Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Sunday’s Game Three loss was a setback for the Chicago Blackhawks, but life goes on. The road to playoff success has ditches littered with tough losses, and the teams that couldn’t recover from them. The Hawks will treat this as nothing more than a bump in the road, and will try to move on, and win Game Four. Here’s the top three reasons why the Blackhawks need to win that game.
#1: Get the series over with
The first reason is also the most obvious. With more time off before round two, the Blackhawks would have time to fine tune, rest sore bodies, and be mentally prepared for the next challenge ahead. The Blackhawks could use this time off, as David Bolland and Ray Emery still are out with lower-body injuries, and a power-play that is lacking the offensive power it needs. It would also put pressure on lower-seeded teams, as Chicago would face the lowest seed still around in the semi-finals. This team would most likely be coming off a lengthy first-round series, and would be banged-up, as well as mentally and physically exhausted. This would give the Hawks a good start on home ice, and hopefully pave the way for another quick series.
#2: Take the Wild’s momentum away
No matter how lucky the Wild were on Sunday, they got the win. This series isn’t all ‘Hawks anymore, and the Wild aren’t going to go away without a fight. The Blackhawks have a glorious opportunity to shut the pesky Minnesota team up on Tuesday, and take their fans out of the series, before they head back to the Madhouse for an elimination game. They will need to be the better team in all departments, including the hits category, where they had terrible struggles on Sunday. With a inexperienced playoff team such as the Wild, chances are they will falter in the face of elimination, and the Blackhawks will unravel them in Game Five. Game Four needs to be won because it will give no hope to Minnesota; Win three straight against a team who never lost more than twice in a row all year.
#3: Prove they belong as a cup contender
The Blackhawks need to make a statement in Game Four. Even though the Hawks are still in relatively good shape, and most people do not factor in the Game Three loss into their predictions, they cannot lose two straight to the eigth seed. Even with all their success, the curse of the President’s trophy still hangs over their heads like an anvil. Pittsburgh dropped game two to the Islanders, and with the Blackhawks lost on Sunday, it proves no one is untouchable. The Hawks are as close as it gets, however. They need to dominate, with stellar goaltending, physical defense, and an offensive gunshow in Game Four.
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