Well, what do we expect for tonight?
It’s pretty obvious what we expect from our guys. Tight defensive hockey. Get up in their grill. Hassle the skill guys like Kane, Toews and Sharp. Get in front of Crabbibulin and don‘t overreact to the Eagers and the Byfuginuglies.
The curious thing is, I really have no idea what to expect from the Hawks tonight. In game one I figured the Hawks would love themselves over their performance against Calgary. And I figured we’d be playing on adrenaline. Perfect chance to take advantage of the Hawks’ attitude…and we did.
In game two I worried that we’d be in love with our game one result and the Hawks would play a little more desperate. We relaxed after the two goal lead and they cleaned our clocks.
For game three, I had no doubt the Hawks would return home fat and happy from their game two performance and be ripe for the picking. I also hoped they’d relax even a little more with the knowledge that Salo and Demitra were out of the lineup. The Hawks in game three were ripe for the picking. And we responded with a (now) classic Canuck road game. The Hawks looked confused.
Well, what about tonight?
The Hawks will surely be better prepared and finally understand that this is the playoffs and we are a veteran team…we aren’t impressed with their high falutin’ ways. The Hawks will now realize that this series will be about paying the price. No one cares what you did last series or even last game. It’s all about the game in front of you.
So, yeah sure, the Hawks will come out flying…that’s a given. If we hold off and don’t panic (and don’t let in a lot of early goals) then the game should settle back into War mode. If that happens, then it is to our advantage because that is our game. If we let them fly in and out of the dirty zone where the goals are hidden, then we’ll have a problem. But defense is a team concept. If our guys play that way and then counter punch hard, these young Hawks will be vulnerable.
So the truth is, none of us really know for sure what to expect tonight. The playoffs are a moveable feast and that alone keeps us on our guard.
I’ve been saying this since the end of the regular season; we haven’t won anything other than an opportunity.