If the Chicago Blackhawks aren't feeling a little down heading into their first two home games of the playoffs, I'd be surprised. Sure, they've come back from deficits before (and God knows that the two-game lead is the hardest lead in playoff hockey). Yes, they'll be in front of over 20,000 Blackhawks fans that will make a deafening noise which has the potential to throw opponents off of their game and interfere with communication on the ice. And hey, they're the defending Stanley Cup champs. They know what it takes.
They've also pissed off the Blues.
Brent Seabrook has been suspended for three games for charging and interference (no mention of contact with the head - weird) which leaves the Hawks without their second best defenseman. Duncan Keith will probably have a difficult game thanks to some mockery of a concussed David Backes. His swinging his stick at everything that moves doesn't add to his appeal. Bryan Bickell tried to knee Alex Pietrangelo and succeeded in kneeing Vladimir Sobotka - he's not the Blues' best friend right now either. The Blues also won't make it easy for anyone else on the Blackhawks, especially Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
This time around, the anger's been channeled not into scrumming or fighting back. The anger in game two was channeled into Vladimir Tarasenko's last second goal and Barret Jackman's overtime winner. The Blackhawks have looked discomobulated at times, and have gotten back into the games when the Blues've let up off of the gas. I'd be surprised if there's any way that happens tonight.
Playoff games in Chicago are never easy for the road team, but this time around it might be different.