Friday, April 18, 2014
Hawks looking forward after Game 1 loss
By Scott Powers
ST. LOUIS -- The Chicago Blackhawks know better than to believe one game decides a playoff series.
The Blackhawks expressed disappointment again Friday after losing 4-3 in three overtimes to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday and thought there were some lessons to be learned in the defeat, but they weren't panicking.
Coach Joel Quenneville and the Hawks aren't going to let a Game 1 loss hurt their focus as they look to even the series in St. Louis.
"It's the first game," Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp said Friday. "Back and forth game, a few chances on either side. It was a pretty physical game. The series will get tougher and harder as we move along. But I think both sides have experience. Certainly in our locker room we're comfortable drawing on past experiences and what we've been through before. We've been down 1-0 in the playoff series before. We know what it takes to win on the road and to steal a game, so we're trying to do that [on Saturday]."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville doesn't have to look far back to remember a time when his team responded after losing the first game on the road in the playoffs. The Blackhawks dropped the first road game against the Minnesota Wild, Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins on their way to the Stanley Cup last season.
"We'll move forward," Quenneville said Friday. "Certainly you'll take your lumps from last night. It's a short night when you play six periods of hockey, not a full six, and I'm sure the guys are going be a little bit tired today, but we'll have a meeting here shortly and get ourselves excited.
"But we've gone through some stretches where we've lost opening games. We've lost last year all four first games in their buildings and seemed to recover. That's something we can build on. It's a long series. We expected a tough series against this team. There's going to be no easy games, but it's a good example that going forward we've got to find a way to overcome our opponents."
The Blackhawks did respond with road wins in the playoffs last season, but they also had the luxury of home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs. That's not the case this season. They'll need to win at least once in St. Louis to take the series from the Blues.
The Blackhawks were in position to snatch Game 1 from the Blues at the Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks held a 3-2 advantage from late in the first period to late in the third period. The Blues were the aggressors for much of the third period and tied the scoree when Jaden Schwartz scored with 1:46 left.
"The game like last night, that's the type of game we have to find a way to close out," Quenneville said. "A one-goal lead on the road, late in the game, find a way."
Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson thought his team would improve if it were to face a similar situation where the Blues are desperate for a goal and are on the attack.
"I think we have a lot of skill, so we can make a lot of passes when they're trying to forecheck, make passes stick to stick and do a lot of offensive chances when they're trying to forecheck hard," Hjalmarsson said. "So, our skill can turn that around to our advantage."
The Blackhawks' focus is now to spin the series in their favor.
"We know we've got the confidence in the group to come from behind in series like this," Hjalmarsson said. "Game 1 is always one of the bigger games in the series, but at the same time we've come from behind in a lot of other series in the past. I know we've got the confidence in the group to be able to turn this around. We still have a good opportunity to win tomorrow. If we do that, I think we've done our job and if we can get at least one game here, turn this series around and it's us to have the home advantage. If we win tomorrow, we'll be more than fine."