Stanley Cup Final vs. Tampa Bay: Game 3

 
These are the dog days of growing a beard for the playoffs. It would feel nice to get some sun on my face, or to not have a Brillo pad scratching at me in humid weather. But like Stannis Baratheon, we all have to make sacrifices. Whatever it takes to win, am I right?

Game 2 was a whole lot more like the series I expected from the start. End-to-end, back and forth, with both teams getting their chances to score. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay finished more of their chances than the Blackhawks did. I know I’m not the only one who had the idea of a sweep in the back of his mind going into Game 2, so this served as a heat check on everyone who thought the Hawks would roll through this series. 

Despite the loss, I thought the Blackhawks played well overall. Teuvo Teravainen has learned how to control his dragons at just the right time. Andrew Shaw and the rest of the 4th line have been great the first two games. But the Hawks made a few too many mistakes to get a 2nd win on the road. Tyler Johnson’s goal to make the score 3-2 was a bad one given up by Corey Crawford. Patrick Sharp really put his team in a bind with two consecutive penalties in the 3rd, the second of which led to the Lightning’s go-ahead score. I hope these two can make up for it tonight and help the Hawks take a series lead. 

According to the Twitter Machine, Bryan Bickell and rookie Trevor van Riemsdyk will be entering the lineup tonight. Hopefully Bicks has whatever ailment (vertigo!?) behind him and improves his trade value with some production for the rest of this series.

TvR is a more interesting story. He only played in 18 games for the Blackhawks after surprisingly making the team out of Training Camp. The rookie played pretty well before having his kneecap shattered blocking a slap shot. He returned to the ice in March in Rockford to rehab and hopefully get back to form for a playoff run, but then almost immediately broke his wrist. So despite the fact that TvR hasn’t played in any game action for most of this season, Q, in all his infinite wisdom, thinks he can’t be any worse than David Rundblad. 

Q’s really sticking his neck out with this decision. Don’t get me wrong, Rundblad is terrifying in the defensive zone. I don’t mean that in a good way. I mean that like I have to watch with my hands covering my eyes every time he sends a soft pass desperately up the boards and turtles before he gets hit. 

Home ice advantage will help a lot tonight, however. Q will be able to get his matchups. He’ll shelter TvR and hope he can get his legs under him fast. Q can also deploy his lines to get his top scoring threats loose against what has turned out to be a better than expected Lightning defense. 

I’m feeling Overtime. I just have that feeling. Either way, the Blackhawks have to put it all together tonight. If they play good defense and stay out of the penalty box, hopefully the Hawks’ top players start coming through and get a W. LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

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