Chicago Blackhawks vs. Nashville Predators – First Round – Game 3
When: 8:30 PM
Where: Nashville, Tennessee (Bridgestone Arena)
TV: CNBC, Fox Sports Tennessee
The Hawks find themselves in quite the precarious situation right now. Trailing 2-0 in the series and heading to Nashville (without even scoring a goal) is not an ideal way to start things. Needless to say this game is a must win, and the Hawks are going to have to fight for it.
The Hawks inability to dent twine has been the biggest and most galling concern thus far. It’s not just that the Hawks haven’t scored, it’s that they’ve looked completely clueless at times offensively. Whether that can be attributed to Nashville’s suffocating defense, or just some jitters that decided to show up at the wrong time, I’m not sure. It’s most likely the former of those two. On defense, the Hawks have looked just as lost. The D’s age has begun to really show itself. The acquisition of Johnny Oduya already looks bad, as he’s been unable to be effective in his time here. And maybe the most surprising part has been Keith’s issues. The Hawks go as Duncan goes, and if he’s off then we’re going to be in store for more problems than solutions.
But despite all that, this isn’t the first time the Hawks have been down and out in a series. We’ve seen them claw their way back before. I won’t believe they’re dead until the final horn sounds at the end of the fourth loss.
If you’re looking for a bright spot regarding scoring: We haven’t seen the Hawks playoff offense struggle to score like this since Games 2 and 3 vs. Boston in the 2013 Final. They scored once in Game 2 and got shutout in Game 3. After that they proceeded to score 12 goals over the next three games to win the Cup. The dam eventually burst. That could easily happen this time around as well.
Another point to note is that Nashville was in this exact spot last year. They won the first two on the road against the top seeded Ducks. The Preds came home up 2-0 and then proceeded to lose three straight games. They eventually won that series in seven, but recent history shows us that this thing ain’t even close to being over through two games.
The Hawks haven’t had a single bounce go their way in either of the first two games. I’d expect that to be different tonight. If the Hawks can just get one crazy bounce to go their way it could end up changing momentum, and the series. Scoring first and early could help in planting a seed of doubt into the Preds and their fans’ heads.
As FFUD mentioned in their recap, this is no time for panic. It’s absolutely time for some major concern, but this team has earned much more than irrational panic from the fans through two bad games.
Let’s see how the Hawks come out and respond tonight. I’d be shocked if Nashville didn’t come out flying in front of their home fans, who are sure to be in an absolute frenzy.
The Hawks are gonna have to weather some storms. If they can survive the initial onslaught during the first 10 minutes, we can then start taking this thing back shift by shift, period by period.
It’s a must-win. Wouldn’t want any other group to have to do it.