It’s that time again! Hawkey time! Tonight is Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, but what makes tonight even more exciting is that the Blackhawks are back in “Sweet Home Chicago.” That’s right, our boys are back home and are ready to bring another win. As you prepare mentally for tonight’s game, let’s do a little recap of Game 2, what we learned and what we can look forward to in tonight’s matchup.
Game 2—Blackhawks Fall to the Lightning
During Game 2 against the Tampa Bay Lightning the Chicago Blackhawks seemed to play better than they did in Game 1. However, the result was not what they wanted. As much as the Chicago Blackhawks kept up with the pace of the Lightning, it wasn’t quite enough to bring home another win. Looking back at Game 2, we can owe a lot of the loss to penalties. Patrick Sharp had a rough 4 minutes early in the third period when he got back to back penalties. The Blackhawks killed off the first penalty, but couldn’t hold off Jason Garrison’s blue line shot with 28 seconds left in the power play.
Additionally, Corey Crawford was just “OK” for Game 2, which is not something he should be in the Stanley Cup Final. Each game requires elite goal tending from Crawford, which we saw in Game 1, but failed to see in Game 2—he allowed one or two not-so-good goals. Let’s hope that Crawford’s elite status comes back in Game 3 with the roaring support of home ice and our diehard Blackhawks fans.
Splitting Up Toews and Kane
After Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks, Jonathan Toews talked about the pressure to score. It’s a pressure he has always felt and one that he places on himself—the same goes for Patrick Kane. After Game 4 we saw an increase in scoring by both Toews and Kane.
However, Toews and Kane are back in a goalless slump in which neither has scored a goal so far in the Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In fact, in Game 2 alone, Kane did not have a single shot on goal. To free up his two stars, Coach Q separated Toews and Kane to start the third period. Going into Game 3, it is likely that we will see Toews and Kane on separate lines again in hopes that separating our stars will help opening up chances to score and eliminate some of the pressure the Lightning have placed on the two of them.
With Toews and Kane on the same line, we usually see great results, but Tampa has been successful in preventing scoring opportunities. As Coach Q stated, “I think splitting those two up gives you a little bit more freedom as far as whether it’s room or something for them to be concerned with.” By separating Toews and Kane, we hope that our offense can be more balanced for greater opportunity to score from our top scorers.
It’s Teuvo Time!
During the playoffs, Teuvo Teravainen has been dubbed, “Finnish Cold,” and we can definitely see why. And, according to Captain Jonathan Toews, he “keeps getting better and better.” Looking at Teravainen from the start of the regular season to the Stanley Cup Final, he almost seems unrecognizable—the transformation has been something else.
Off the ice, Teuvo has always been quiet and reserved, but he seems to be warming up to the press after each game. On the ice, he has gone from hesitant in shooting to a constant scoring threat to opposing teams. Teuvo Teravainen as proven to be a top six talent since joining the Blackhawks and is a great addition to the third line with Patrick Sharp and Antoine Vermette. After all, it was Teravainen who assisted on Vermette’s game winning goal in Game 1. Keep Teravainen and Vermette together, and the Blackhawks will continue to pose a threat to Tampa on all lines.
Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final starts at 7:00 P.M. CST at the United Center, and we wonder will Ben Bishop return in net, or will Andrei Vasilevskiy start? And, will the Blackhawks come back into the game with more drive and fight to bring home a win? Let’s hope so.