Blackhawks Look to Take Series Back in Game 3
It’s been a lopsided matchup so far as the Blackhawks decisively took the first game at 4-1 while the Red Wings came roaring back in Game 2 with the same score.
What can we expect for Game 3? The Blackhawks are discovering that the Red Wings are a better team than they were in the regular season.
Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews sounded like it would be a game played with a sense of urgency. He said via ESPN, “There’s no time to waste in this series. We know going into their building it’s even more difficult.”
For Chicago, it would be helpful if Toews could step up in this postseason as he is in an eight-game slump that goes back to 2012. In three postseasons, he has scored three goals combined as compared to the seven he scored that helped his team to win the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Toews typically plays well against the Red Wings in the postseason. In the previous one, he had seven goals but the Red Wings eliminated Chicago in the end after the Western Conference finals.
These postseason struggles follow Toews’ regular season success where he had scored 23 goals. This tied him with his teammate Patrick Kane for a team high, according to ESPN. Only four NHL players scored more in the regular season.
On Monday, the Blackhawks could get some help as forward Viktor Stalberg will likely play after being out for the series’ first two games as a healthy scratch. There were rumblings that Stalberg was disgruntled about his power-playing time but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville disputed this.
Stalberg said of his return via CSNChicago.com, “I’ll just keep playing the way I have all year. I don’t think I’m going to change too much; you just get back out there and work hard and do as much as you can. It’s always frustrating. You want to play; you want to help out. Most of us made it here because we’re competitive people and we want to be the best. You want to be out there.”
The Blackhawks are feeling the pressure to win one game in Detroit and looking ahead to Monday’s game, players have said they plan to ramp up the intensity for it. They don’t want to return to Chicago in a deficit situation.
Chicago sits at +250 to win the Stanley Cup this year, according to Bovada, while the Red Wings are +1400.
Meanwhile, while the visiting team wants to take things up a notch, the home team will look to maintain their good production.
On Saturday, Valtteri Filppula extended his solid postseason play with another goal in the game while Johan Franzen had his fourth goal for the playoffs. Damien Brunner and rookie Brendan Smith both scored during the second period.
This Red Wings team is a young one as compared to the Blackhawks–10 of which played together for the 2010 Stanley Cup.
Gaining experience appears to be helping the Red Wings. Other rookies than Smith stepping up include Damien Brunner and Gustav Nyquist, who have scored winning goals in the playoffs. Brunner has four goals in this postseason with three assists while Joakim Andersson sits among the league’s top rookie scorers.
The veterans are stepping up as well with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk leading the way. Their play and leadership will need to continue if the Red Wings have a chance in this rival series.
But in the short-term, the Blackhawks will regroup on Monday night for the win (-130, 5 o/u).