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Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Hawks confident heading into Game 4

By Scott Powers



BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp has been around long enough to know that what he and his teammates were feeling after their Game 3 loss in the Stanley Cup finals to the Boston Bruins on Monday wasn’t going to last come Tuesday.

“I think we’ve been in the playoffs a number of years together,” Sharp said at TD Garden on Tuesday. “This is my fifth year in Chicago. It feels like the end of the world after the loss, but you wake up the next day and realize it’s a long series and there’s another game to be played. The start of Game 4 we’re not going to be thinking about what happened in Game 3. It’s all about that next game.”

The Blackhawks may be moving on from Game 3 and have repeatedly said they’re not panicking being down 2-1 in the series, but they also admitted Tuesday they were facing a vital Game 4.

“I think we're in a tough spot,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. “In the Detroit [Red Wings’ Western Conference semifinals] series, we found a way to get ourselves to get back into it. That's what we're looking for. [Wednesday] is a very important game, like we have to win [Wednesday] night. Come up with a good result, we're right where we want to be.”


One reason why the Blackhawks remain confident is because of what they were able to accomplish in the Western Conference semifinals. The Red Wings built a 3-1 series advantage before the Blackhawks rallied to win three consecutive games.

Blackhawks forward Dave Bolland believed they could apply what they did against the Red Wings and their goaltender Jimmy Howard to the Bruins and their goaltender Tuukka Rask.

“I think we kept our game,” Bolland said. “We played smart. I think we weren’t trying to do the pretty thing. We stuck to our game plan and threw the puck at the net and we got bodies at the tent. We did our thing to crowd Howard. I think we did those things against Detroit.”

A better net presence is one objective for the Blackhawks in Game 4, but they’re also looking to improve their power play and faceoffs. The Blackhawks went 0-for-5 on the power play in Game 3 and are 0-for-11 for the series. They also won just 16 of 56 faceoffs in Game 3.

Quenneville thought a key to fixing the power play was finding a better way into the offensive zone.

“It's tough to get a clean entry,” Quenneville said. “I think we might have to get a little indirect plays to get possession on our entries. It starts losing the draw initially. That's the area we have to get better. Hopefully you don't have to resort to the entry. We're still going to have to find a way to get through it and find ways to have possession off it. Might have to go indirectly to get it and have puck battles to get more retrievals, start off with the puck more.”

Sharp said for the Blackhawks to get better on faceoffs it wasn’t just the faceoff taker who had to improve.

“Going back and looking at things, there’s a number of 50/50 pucks we can come up with as wingers,” Sharp said. “Again, you don’t just point the finger at the one guy. It’s really a team effort to get that puck back.”

The Blackhawks believe they can fix those areas, and they believe they can still win the Stanley Cup.

“We always have belief,” Bolland said. “We got the players. We got the confidence. We got this team, the kind of team that can do that. We know we can bounce back from little things. I think you guys have seen that this year just even being down or just being down in the Detroit series.

“You’re going to be down. Things are going to happen. We have that confidence with [Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Brent Seabrook, Sharp] that we have the guys that can do it. I think we can do it.”