Don't worry Chicago Blackhawks fans, the Hawks have been here before. While the Blackhawks struggled last night to stop the Tampa Bay Lightning, this is a veteran team that has a 40-14 record in games 4-7 and will surely have a good Game 4 but they have to conver their chances. Marion Hossa and Tuevo Teravinen both missed open nets in the first period of Game 3 and that seemed to set the tone for the rest of the night. If the Hawks want to go back to Tampa Bay tied, they have to make their chances count, especially against a Ben Bishop who looked like he had trouble moving in the goal. With a hampered goalie and the home crowd on their side, the Blackhawks couldn't make the best of their chances and it frustrated them.
The key to Game 4 will be if Chicago's big guns can step up. Tampa Bay's dangerous "Triplets" line has already produced three goals this series and are likely to score again in Game 4. While Tyler Johnson has been scoring goals for Tampa in the series, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane have been dead silent, with both having a combined one point through three games. Chicago has gotten here due to their stars producing and if they don't want to go down 3-1, they will have to step up. Although Chicago used the last change advantage and moved Toews away from Cedric Paquette, like they did with Ryan Kesler last series, he still has not produced up to the standards we are used to seeing him play at. Hossa and Patrick Sharp have not looked like themselves and have missed prime chances in front of the net. In the Stanley Cup Final, stars have to be stars and they have not showed up for the Blackhawks.
Kris Versteeg could also be back in the lineup for the Blackhawks and he should be. Bryan Bickell's play last night made us all questions his choice in the lineup. He looked out of it and took a silly penalty to further his case of being a healthy scratch. Bickell showed up last year for the Blackhawks but he has been out of it this postseason and it may be time to bring back Versteeg, who played great in Game 2 and was a healthy scratch for Game 3.
For Tampa Bay, expect them to have the same guys out there as they did in Game 3. Bishop seemed to shake off anything that was bothering him during Game 3 and Tampa Bay will look to take a commanding 3-1 series lead going back home to Tampa Bay. Although this is a young team, they have knocked out three straight Original six teams and will look to complete the sweep in this series.
This is a must win for the Blackhawks, there is no doubt about it. This writer does not see them pulling of a 3-1 series comeback against the Lightning if they lose. This is the time where Toews shows that he is the best captain in sports and while he and Kane have not showed up this series so far, they still have time to save the Blackhawks.