Regardless what some may think, there certainly seems to be something different about this crop of Blues. We have all seen games in times past where the team looks like it has rolled over and given up, but not so much this year. And even less so this postseason. In Game 2, when there was plenty of reason for the Blues to feel sorry for themselves, they kept battling. Enough so, the Blues scored with 2 seconds left in the game. There are no guarantees about what'll happen in this series, but I do see a resiliency and a confidence (in themselves and the gameplan) that wasn't there in previous postseasons. This is a team that has already battled through adversity by way of the injury bug. They came out the other side a little stronger and wiser, and was rewarded with a 107-point season. If they can keep at it still, their persistence may well be rewarded in the postseason as well.
It was my season for battle wounds, battle scars
Body bumped, bruised
Stabbed in the back; brimstone, fire jumping through
Still, all my life, I got money and power
And you gotta live with the bad blood now
As good as things are going, it's no time to get over-confident. The hard part is still ahead. From Mark Potash, of the Chicago Sun-Times (link):
In fact, the Hawks are under .500 (31-32) in the first three games of a playoff series under Quenneville. ... The Hawks are 43-14 (.754) in Games 4-7 of the playoffs in Joel Quenneville’s seven seasons as head coach — 26-6 (.813) in the past three seasons, including 15-1 (.938) at home.
But, to repeat the sentiment earlier:
The Hawks know they will need to reach another level to pull off the same feat against the Blues, who look more ready to win than they did in 2014 with outstanding goaltending, impressive balance on offense and defense, and the same old gumption they once depended on to beat opponents, but now complements their improved skill level.
Also, from NHL.com's Amalie Benjamin (link):
It was a sign: This is not the same team as two years ago, when the Blues took the first two games at home before dropping four straight to the Blackhawks in the first round. This is not a team that will be thrown off-balance by a call or a loss or anything, really. That does not mean that the Blues will necessarily win. It does mean that there has been a hardening, a maturing, a changing of a team that has failed to get out of the first round over the past three seasons.
This is even recognized by the players. After the 3-2 win in Game 3, the press was talking to Corey Crawford
Here's the money quote from Corey Crawford, on the Blues: "Whatever’s happened in years before, they’re not the same team." #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) April 17, 2016
So, don't just take my word for it. But while the Blues are learning new tricks, the Hawks are leaning on their history.
If you live like that you live with ghosts
If you love like that blood runs cold
From Tracey Meyers of CSN Chicago (link):
This is the seventh time since the 2012-13 playoffs the Blackhawks have entered Game 4 of a series trailing 2-1. Of the six previous times they’ve faced that deficit, they’ve come back to win the series five times. So in trying to move forward, the Blackhawks will look back.
What correlation does the Blackhawks’ history in Games 4 through 7 have on this matchup with the Blues? Eh, possibly nothing. Just because it’s happened before doesn’t mean the Blackhawks will have the comeback in them again this year. But they’ve done well in the past, and they’ll draw on those experiences to try and move forward in the present.
There's a lot there for support, for sure, but can that be relied upon with all of the turnover they've had each year? Like the Blues, this is a different Hawks team as well. Whether they can draw on that to exceed their current playing level, and whether the Blues can match and surpass that themselves - well, that's why they play the game.
So take a look what you've done
'Cause baby, now we got bad blood, hey!
Now we got problems
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Final verse: Once again we get to start at 8:30 PM St Louis time. The TV broadcast will be on Fox Sports MW locally, NBC Sports Net nationally, and the radio call will be on Y98 FM (98.3). The GDT should drop shortly before the puck does. Here's a clip from yesterday's press interviews. I don't know which is funnier - the "Andy" bit or the reference to Steve Ott's ice time.