The Chicago Blackhawks find themselves down 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
After a late goal by Cedric Paquette on Monday night, the Lightning took Game Three on the road at the United Center, and find themselves just two wins away from their second Stanley Cup in franchise history.
With their second straight one-goal loss, some have written the Blackhawks off already. However, the optimists in us have come up with the top three reasons why the Blackhawks will still be the team to lift the Cup once this series is over.
#3: This Is Nothing New For The Blackhawks
Through the Blackhawks’ post-season success over the past seven years, one thing is clear: they never make it easy on themselves. In fact, the Blackhawks had lost Game Three of the 2010 Final against the Philadelphia Flyers, and Game Three of the 2013 Final against the Boston Bruins. They went on to win both series.
Though things were a little different in those situations (the team that wins Game Three on the road has a 13-0 record in the Final), the Blackhawks tend to save their best hockey for games Four, Five, and beyond.
If the Blackhawks battle back for a Game Four win in the United Center, they would seem to have the statistical advantage: the ‘Hawks are 16-1 in the Joel Quenneville era in the games that follow (the lone loss was to the Anaheim Ducks in this year’s Western Conference Final, when they lost Game Five).
They’re facing a Lightning team that has had trouble closing out series early, with two of their three previous series this spring taking seven games. In the 2015 playoffs, the Lightning are 2-3 in closeout games.
This is where the Blackhawks’ experience needs to come in to play. Battling back from a 1-2 series deficit is nothing new for the team, but this time, they will have to do so without the luxury of Game Five (and Game Seven if necessary) in the Madhouse.