Updated: May 26, 2014 6:36PM
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — The Blackhawks didn’t follow captain Jonathan Toews’ lead in Game 3 of the Western Conference final Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings. Maybe they will heed his call to order in Game 4.
‘‘It’s time to bring it; it’s time to play our best hockey,’’ Toews said after practice Sunday. ‘‘No more waiting. Everyone knows and understands we can bring more.
‘‘We know how good a team we’re up against and what it’s going to take to beat them. We can be positive about a lot of things and remind ourselves what we’re capable of as a team and where we’ve been before, considering this situation in the series. So let’s go play a great game for each other [Monday]. It’s a great opportunity.’’
Toews’ battle cry was as familiar as the storylines that dominated the day as the Hawks, trailing the Kings 2-1 heading into Game 4 at Staples Center, try to avoid falling into a hole they might not be able to get out of.
The power play. The penalty kill. Patrick Kane’s scoring ‘‘slump.’’ Can the Hawks contain Jeff Carter and the Kings’ productive ‘‘70s’’ line? Kings coach Darryl Sutter winning the matchup game by not even playing it. After back-to-back come-from-behind victories, have the Kings solved the mighty Hawks? Is it desperation time?
Those are all legitimate issues after the Kings came from behind to beat the Hawks in Games 2 and 3. The Kings have the momentum, for whatever that’s worth. All the Hawks have going for them is their well-documented history of recoveries from similar predicaments.
‘‘We know we have to win in [Staples Center],’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘And finding a way is what our team’s all about.’’
Quenneville talked about making adjustments to his power-play unit and ‘‘a tweak here or there’’ on his lines, but what he’s counting on most is the Hawks’ ability to rise to challenge. As Quenneville noted, the Hawks have been down 2-1 in four of their last six playoff series.
It probably would take the actual hockey gods to explain how they do it, but the Hawks usually find a way. Since 2010, the Hawks are 19-20 in Games 1-3 of a playoff series but 27-7 in Games 4-7. No matter how many times they survive after playing with fire, though, the next predicament seems like the one that’s going to burn them.
‘‘We’re playing a very good team, better than the team we saw [in the conference final] last year,’’ Quenneville said. ‘‘It’s going to take more. It’s going to take everybody — a big effort, a big game. That’s a challenge.’’
Even this won’t be a first-time trick. Like the Kings this season, the Boston Bruins were nearly two seasons removed from their Stanley Cup title and had a 2-1 series lead on the Hawks heading into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final last season at TD Garden. The Hawks survived in typical fashion, losing leads of 1-0, 3-1, 4-2 and 5-4 before winning 6-5 in overtime.
‘‘Not much changes tactically,’’ Toews said. ‘‘It’s just us realizing we have to execute, be as mentally focused as we can be. Win those single little battles, the puck races, all that stuff. You realize how much those little things add up at the end of the game.’’