The Blackhawks have been able to take positives and negatives from nearly every game in the series. They didn't always play perfectly in the first two games, but two wins had them feeling good. Game 3 created mixed emotions. They were pleased with their first 40 minutes, especially not allowing the Wild to ignite their home crowd early, but the third period fell in the Wild's favor and a 4-0 loss resulted in the Blackhawks dealing with some questions about their mentality and play.
The Blackhawks are now figuring out the balance between maintaining confidence from their two wins and having a sense of urgency but not overreacting to their one loss.
"Yes, it's one game, and we know the next one is going to be just as tough, probably not maybe any tougher," Blackhawks defenseman Johnny Oduya said Wednesday. "With that said, we know we can play a lot better.
"The first game was not very good. Second game was better, and we knew we had to take it to another level, which we didn't. The urgency is there now. We've seen how they can play and how far they battled for winning games. That's something that we have to have too, and it was a little bit of a wake-up call, but not really. I think we knew that this is the way we play. We saw it in last series, where I think, for a lot of parts, they outbattled Colorado a lot. Yeah, we have to play better. That's just the bottom line."
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane wondered if he and his teammates maybe were riding a little too high after having won six consecutive playoff games. Kane hopes Tuesday's loss could ultimately work to their advantage.
"I think if anything it's a wake-up call for us," Kane said. "Winning six games in a row, maybe we were a little overconfident in ourselves, and Minnesota did a good job of making it a series. So we still feel that we haven't played our best game in the series, and hopefully it'll come next game.
"You look at anywhere from 1 to 8 in the playoffs, teams can be beaten, and we just came off a six-game winning streak in the playoffs, which I think is pretty impressive in itself. I think we're happy with where we're at. Obviously, it's never fun losing a game, but it's going to happen, especially in the playoffs."
Each game has come down to the third period. The Blackhawks scored three consecutive third-period goals to secure a 5-2 win in Game 1. The Blackhawks put away a 4-1 win in Game 2 by scoring their final two goals late in the third period. The Wild scored all four of Game 3's goals in the third period.
After having closed so strongly in the first two games, Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith questioned his team's killer instinct following their Game 3 loss. Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wouldn't go that far a day later.
"I don't know about that," Quenneville said Wednesday. "Not with this team. I think one of our strengths is the bigger the setting, the bigger the stage, rising to the challenge and the occasion.
"It's a good hockey team we're playing in a building where they have a ton of success. We knew it was a tough game to be going into. I thought the approach was fine. Killer instincts, maybe around the net [Tuesday], maybe we could have had a bigger appetite to find that puck or get to that tough area. But I think our team is pretty resilient in a lot of ways. Whatever the challenge is, we try to find ways to overcome them all."
Game 4 in Minnesota on Friday is the next challenge awaiting the Blackhawks.