May 18, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) reaches for the puck between Detroit Red Wings right wing Daniel Cleary (11) and defenseman Niklas Kronwall (55) in the third period of game two of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the United Center. The Red Wings won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
It was only Game 2 of the second round playoff series between the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings, and it is only the second loss of the post season for the Blackhawks. By the way many fans reacted to the Game 2 loss, one would think their team should be in desperation mode, fighting just to stay in the series. But it’s still just Game 2 with at least 3 more to go (but probably 4 or 5), so why are fans taking the loss so hard? Three reasons.
1. Losses were not a normal occurrence in the regular season. The Blackhawks lost 12 times in the regular season and only 7 of those in regulation. They were even able to win a couple of games that they probably shouldn’t have because someone always stepped up to be the hero and steal the game, whether it was Marian Hossa, Ray Emery, or the 3rd line. But in the playoffs, one poorly played game could be a momentum changer. It’s happened many times, and Blackhawks fans may be overreacting thinking that this will be their team’s fate after losing to a great effort by the Red Wings.
2. The loss was on home ice. The Blackhawks worked hard in the regular season to gain home ice advantage, but it doesn’t mean much if they don’t make it count. Now they have to take a game in Detroit, at the Joe Louis Arena, while dodging octopi and what not. But the Blackhawks are no strangers to winning in Detroit and have fans that will pack the Joe as much as possible to, at the very least, take complete home ice advantage away from the Red Wings.
3. The Blackhawks played terribly and lost pretty decisively, 4-1. It is hard to look around at the other playoff series in the league and say that the Blackhawks have matched the intensity of those teams. Joel Quenneville knows that his team needs to take their game to another level if they want to make it through this series alone, never mind through the Kings and Penguins – or, you know, whoever. In their latest game, it was never more obvious that the Blackhawks have yet to reach that level already in the second round of the playoffs. The good news is that they can still raise their game, and if they do, they’ll be exhausting to their opponents all the way to the Cup. If they don’t, it will be a year that was more disappointing than the last because that word “potential” looms even larger.
While these three reasons are legitimate concerns, there is no need to overreact because all of them can be overcome by the team that was the most consistent in goaltending, depth, and coaching for the past 5 months. It might take going down a game or two to Detroit to awaken the post season version of the Blackhawks’ game. That’s terrifying for fans now but incredible later. And we should expect the incredible by now.
Do you think Blackhawks fans should be worried?