We all know what happened last Wednesday night. An early season miracle, a sign that the Blues were resillient, a sign that perhaps the Blackhawks were finally weakened by their semi-annual salary cap induced fire sale. A solidification of Jake Allen as the number one goaltender. The birth of a meme.
Attitudes like this, from Jay Bouwmeester:
"You just realize that a game like that in Chicago gives you confidence and that you’re never really out of a game," Bouwmeester said. "We know we have the capability, even with the guys who are hurt, to score timely goals to come back in the games. That grows confidence in everybody. Never-say-die or whatever. It’s an attitude. It’s realistic that you can always come back."
That's a great attitude to have. Giving up, curling your tail under you, and going home after a bad first period means one thing: you're going to lose a hockey game. Fighting through it and succeeding means that you've won, or at the very least made a loss less mortifying. Everyone loves moral victories.
That is why Thursday night's loss to the New York Rangers was so disappointing - it exposed those narratives as something that aren't consistent. Sometimes, when your defense takes a night off, it makes it difficult to fight back. Sometimes, your newly crowned starter doesn't have a good night. Sometimes you're just not able to #roarbacon.
Sometimes, your most hated rival gets a good dose of energy right before the game.
Duncan Keith and Michal Rozsival are both back tonight. Their absence has contributed greatly to the Blackhawks' struggles this season, and those struggles were on display last Wednesday. Tonight's Hawks team won't be as easy to expose, especially if we see another defensive performance like the Blues put on Thursday evening. Neither team is happy about their last game, and that displeasure will be on display tonight.