DETROIT -- The Chicago Blackhawks liked most of what they did in the third period of Game 3 on Monday night.
They certainly had more intensity, brought on by the 2-0 lead the Detroit Red Wings had on them when the period began. They had better shots against Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard, who was seeing shots too easily earlier in the game.
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So if they can bring that Game 3 third period to this Game 4 first period, they think it can yield to a better end tonight.
The Blackhawks are in a mini deficit right now, trailing the Wings 2-1 heading into tonight’s Game 4 at Joe Louis Arena. And to prevent the Wings from taking a 3-1 advantage, the Blackhawks have to bring the intensity, fight and better shots that they had to end the other night.
“The start is important,” coach Joel Quenneville said this morning. “We want to make sure we’re on our toes, doing the right things. We talk about our overall game, but the speed of our game and keeping the puck out of our own end and getting on the forecheck is what we’re looking to establish. At the same time, a defensive approach is what we’re looking for.”
Patrick Kane agreed.
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“It was a good period for us; we had a lot of chances, hit a couple posts, had a disallowed goal and got a goal. It felt like it had more action, too,” he said. “For us, we’re just trying to get better. That’s one of the main things throughout the series. They’re playing pretty well right now, so we’ll have to play even better than we did the other night.”
The Blackhawks were in a relatively light mood after Thursday morning’s skate. There wasn’t really a feeling of anxiousness or too much stress. They said, right now, there shouldn’t be.
“You can’t get down just because you’re down a game in a series,” Viktor Stalberg said. “I don’t think anyone expected us to be up every series or go through (a series) 4-0. It’s going to be tight. We’re going to be in this spot plenty of times. We just have to dig ourselves out tonight.”
Emulating that third period – minus some of those foolish, frustration-laden penalties, of course – would be a good start. The Blackhawks aren’t in a desperate situation yet. They can go a long way in avoiding that situation by bringing that late Game 3 mentality from start to finish in Game 4.
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“We’re disappointed. We haven’t been in this position all year but we’ve quietly gone about our business,” Quenneville said. “They’ve gotten our attention the last couple of games. We’re looking to play our best game of the year tonight, and we’re going to need it.”