For the Chicago Blackhawks, it isn't time to panic. It may be time to sweat, but there's no need to panic.
Following a 3-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings in Game 3 of Chicago's Western Conference semifinal series, the 'Hawks find themselves in an unfamiliar spot. For perhaps the first time in the 2013 season, Chicago is in what amounts to a must-win situation.
In the first game of the series in Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings got a 39-save performance out of Jimmy Howard to fend off a strong opening period on the part of Chicago. Despite getting 15 shots on goal in the opening period, the Blackhawks couldn't arrange a meeting of rubber and twine.
Detroit took control of the contest with a pair of goals within 31 seconds of each other. Chicago rallied with a Patrick Kane goal in the final 20 minutes. However, a potential tying goal was disallowed and Pavel Datsyuk nailed the door shut in the seventh minute.
The frustration was evident on the part of the 'Hawks. Five times in the final period, Chicago skaters were sent to the penalty box. Bryan Bickell attempted to drop the gloves with Niklas Kronwall with no success. Andrew Shaw, who had been penalized twice earlier in the game, was assessed a 10-minute misconduct near the game's end.
The Blackhawks are now down 2-1 in the series and face a Game 4 in Detroit on Thursday that requires a response to the previous two losses. It is imperative that Chicago return home with the series knotted at two games apiece.
Sure, several shots beat Howard only to meet up with a post or crossbar. However, the 'Hawks are too good a team to settle on such excuses.
Shaw may or may not have interfered in the crease on what could have been the tying goal. Regardless, more legal traffic needs to congregate in front of the net.
This isn't rocket science here. There are few revelations in what is required to even up the series. What is needed is an ability to convert on opportunities in Game 4. Otherwise, the 'Hawks will return to Chicago on the brink of elimination.
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