No sweat: Blackhawks know all about predicaments
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter April 20, 2014 9:17PM
Updated: April 21, 2014 12:13AM
The Blackhawks aren’t sweating — yet.
They’re down 2-0 in their first-round series against the Blues after overtime losses in Games 1 and 2. But they know they were on the verge of winning both games until they allowed late third-period goals. And both games were on the road.
“This group is more than capable of doing what we did last year in the playoffs against Detroit or against Boston when we lost two games,’’ defenseman Michal Rozsival said. “We know we have the tools here to do [it]. I’m not sure exactly what it’s going to take, but we all have to get better — just a little bit better to finish games.’’
How can they do that? Even coach Joel Quenneville was a little perplexed when asked that question after the Hawks nearly executed a monumental 6:05 penalty kill that included 46 seconds of 5-on-3 and more than a minute of 6-on-4 before Vladimir Tarasenko’s tying goal with 6.4 seconds left in regulation.
“It was six seconds away from perfect,’’ Quenneville said. “In the other game, we didn’t give up many scoring chances for a long stretch in that third period as well [before the Blues scored with 1:45 left].’’
After the Blues pulled goalie Ryan Miller with 1:46 to play in Game 2, the Hawks cleared two or three times but did not appear to be aiming for the empty net.
“You’re almost there,’’ Quenne-ville said. “I just think we have to be better across the board, knowing that in those situations . . . you want to make sure you put it into the empty net next time.’’
Home, sweet home
Down 2-0, the Hawks will be depending on home ice to avoid a 3-0 series deficit. The Hawks were 27-7-7 at home — tied with the Bruins and Sharks for the fewest regulation losses at home.
“It’ll be great for us,” Quenne-ville said. “Coming back here, whether it was Game 5 against Detroit, you just feed off it. It’ll be exciting to get back here, get some of the positive vibes off it and look to turn this thing around.”
Goalie Corey Crawford, who has been good but not great in the first two games, took his share of the blame after the 4-3 overtime loss in Game 2. And Quenneville didn’t disagree.
Crawford has allowed eight goals, stopping 75 of 83 shots for a .904 save percentage.
‘’He said he needs to be better,’’ Quenneville said, “and he needs to be better.’’
Tough day for Q
Quenneville lost not only a hockey game but a horse race in excruciating fashion Saturday. Midnight Hawk, the Kentucky Derby-qualified thoroughbred he co-owns with assistant Mike Kitchen and former Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice, lost the Illinois Derby in a photo finish at Hawthorne.
“It was like two in a row,’’ Quenneville said.