VANCOUVER, B.C. -- One sign of an improving team is the ability to learn and adjust from game to game. In the Chicago Blackhawks' case, it was a mental adjustment they made from Game 1 to Game 2 that helped make the difference against the Vancouver Canucks.
In both games, the home team got down 2-0, but in Game 2 the Hawks were able to reverse the momentum and slowly get back in it. Duncan Keith said a different mindset helped.
“I thought we were better prepared mentally for this game, and I think that helped in not panicking and staying with it,” he said.
On Tuesday, before boarding their plane for Vancouver, the Hawks reiterated how the learning process helped them from one game to the next.
“I don’t think we stuck with our game plan in Game 1 which really hurt us,” Brian Campbell said. “Even when we got down [Monday], we kept pursuing and staying with it.”
It’s what any coach will preach, short of third period desperation time: stay with the game plan.
“I think we worked ourselves back to where we’re playing the way we have to play to be successful,” coach Joel Quenneville said.
One thing the Hawks had to mentally contend with was the disparity in power-play opportunities on Monday. Vancouver had over 10 minutes with the man advantage, the Hawks under four.
“It would be nice to get a few more,” Campbell said. “I think we could have had a few more than two power plays but it is what it is. They had seven power plays, and we tried to hold them best we could.”
The Hawks are being careful with what they say, but it was obvious in the dressing room after the game they felt they got the worst of the whistles for infractions.
One of the calls was yet another too many men on the ice penalty. It came in the third period of a tight game. A very dangerous spot. There has been an inordinate amount of them called this postseason in the NHL.
The Hawks have been penalized three times already in just eight games. Quenneville tried to explain it away and ended up just taking the hit for the call.
“It’s the coach’s fault when there are too many men,” Quenneville quipped with a smile.
“It gives us some speed and energy,” Quenneville said.
Just as he was before Game 2, Quenneville was coy about his lineup for Game 3.
“We’re still contemplating,” he said.
He intimated that Dustin Byfuglien would remain on the top line after being moved there a few minutes into Game 2. Byfuglien started on defense but replaced a struggling Troy Brouwer, to play alongside Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
“Part of our plan going into it was Buff [Byfuglien] could be a swing man for us,” Quenneville said. “He was playing fine on the back end and [on] John’s [Toews] line we were looking for something, and I thought Buff gave it.”
As for Brouwer, he has not had a good postseason and played only 5:31 on Monday.
“He can give us more,” Quenneville said.
One lighter moment in the game came when Burish and Eager gave Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo a “snow shower,” when a skater stops short of the goaltender and ends up spraying him with snow from a quick halt.
“We definitely heard a warning from the ref,” Campbell said. “He came to me after it. He told me to pass the message along to the two culprits there.
“It was a little chuckle on the bench. I don’t think any team can do that because you don’t want to take a penalty and I imagine next time it’s going to be called.”
Apparently, Eager has much better aim.
“Ben is a lot better at trajectoring his snow,” Campbell joked. “Adam missed him. It went over his [Luongo’s] left shoulder. I think Ben got him a lot better so we’re going to work with Adam on that [Wednesday] morning.”