When the Chicago Blackhawks take the ice Monday at TD Garden for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Bruins, they’ll look to snap an unsettling trend. In the postseason, they are 0-3 in Game 3s.
But despite dropping Game 3 to the Wild (3-2 in overtime), Red Wings (3-1), and Kings (3-1), Chicago responded, closing out the series against the Wild and Kings in five games and completing a comeback from a 3-1 hole against the Red Wings.
“Well, I thought Game 3, three Game 3s, we played pretty well in Detroit when it was 1-1 in the series,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said Sunday. “We had a 2-0 lead in Minnesota. In LA, maybe we were comfortable with the situation coming off two nice wins. I thought Detroit got our attention after Game 2. It was one of those games that could have gone either way.
“Certainly, that’s got to be our approach going into tomorrow’s game, desperate, something to prove. We’re not happy with the ending. We have to be better.”
At the United Center, in front of their boisterous fans, the Blackhawks are 10-2, which ranks best in the playoffs. On the road, they are 3-4.
“Well, it’s going to be loud, we know that,” Blackhawks forward Michal Handzus said. “It’s going to be exciting. It was loud at home, it’s going to be loud here. Once you go on a shift, you don’t pay too much attention of it.”
After the Bruins tied the series with a 2-1 OT victory Saturday, Boston will have home-ice advantage for two games.
“We’re extremely excited about the challenge,” Quenneville said. “I think it’s a great challenge. We went into Detroit, knew we had to win a game. We put ourselves in a tough spot there. We’re excited about being on the road. We haven’t been on the road in a bit.”
The Blackhawks are hoping to learn from their previous Game 3 struggles.
“I knew that stat coming in,” forward Patrick Kane said. “I think when you’re at home the first two games, sometimes you get a little bit too comfortable at home. Then you come on the road, maybe it’s like a rude awakening when you come and play on the road.
“We’ve had three series to figure that out, learn it. It was a huge Game 4 against LA, to come back and win that one. We definitely want to be better tomorrow, especially in the first game on the road.”
For the Bruins, they are 12-1 under Claude Julien in Game 3s.
In Saturday’s 2-1 win, the Bruins recorded 50 hits, while Chicago responded with 34.
Duncan Keith, who anchors the Blackhawks’ defense with partner Brent Seabrook, said the stat isn’t important.
“I don’t really think a whole lot about it,” Keith said. “I definitely think being physical is something that you need to have. But whether they get more hits, we get more hits, I don’t go and look at that stat at the end of the game.
“I think we want to be physical, but also more than anything we want to be hard to play against. That’s being hard in the puck areas, trying to win on those one-on-one puck battles, races for the puck.”
After a triple-overtime, 112-minute marathon in Game 1, the Bruins and Blackhawks battled for 13:48 in an extra frame before the Bruins won Game 2. If the trend continues, defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said depth is a key asset. “I think we have lot of forwards with a lot of speed that don’t really get tired too easy,” he said. “When the games carry on for a long time, they can use their speed in a good way.” . . . Forward Viktor Stalberg, the former University of Vermont standout who was a scratch in Games 1 and 2 for Brandon Bollig, may return in Game 3, but Quenneville had little to offer. “He could play,” Quenneville said.