Blackhawks try to prevent a rare 2-0 deficit vs Ducks
ANAHEIM – Don’t get ready to sound the sirens if they go off more for the home team than the road squad Tuesday night in Anaheim.
“Must Win” is a term overused in sports-especially for the team that drops the opening game of a playoff series. That’s where the Blackhawks are at this moment after a 4-1 loss in their Western Conference Final opener in which the score exaggerates the distance between the teams during the 60 minutes of hockey.
A few bad defensive breakdowns and the inability to get more than one of their 33 shots past Frederik Andersen put them down in a series for the first time during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
It’s not the end of the world. History under Joel Qunneville shows that.
Since 2009 the Blackhawks have trailed to start off a playoff series seven times and came out with wins in four of them. That includes the first round series against the Blues in 2014. In that series the Blackhawks actually lost their first two games but rallied back to win the series.
The other two times that happened (2009 West Finals vs Red Wings, 2011 First Round vs Canucks) turned out to be series losses but in the latter the Blackhawks took Vancouver to overtime of Game 7 before losing.
Recent history would suggest the Blackhawks would probably win Game 2 to salvage a split. When that happens they are 6-3 since 2009 including a first round series win this year over the Predators.
After just around 54 hours of waiting the Blackhawks will get that chance on Tuesday night as they face the Ducks at 8 P.M. at the Honda Center. Anaheim doesn’t know much about falling behind this postseason since they swept their first round series and took the first two games against Calgary en route to win in Calgary.
“They’re a deep team. They attack. I think once they got that lead, they were looking to play smart and safe. The neutral zone is tough to get through,” said Quenneville of the Ducks. “I think that’s the challenge from playing from behind, getting ourselves in a tough spot like we did.”
“They attack, they’ve got some skill as well. They’re a deep team. They have an active defense, as well. All four lines, good balance.”
For the rest of the playoffs the Blackhawks will have a struggle to keep that balance on the defensive end. Michal Rozsival’s injury in the Minnesota series thinned an already stretched defensive unit and it showed in Game 1 when backup David Runblad had errors that led to two of the four Ducks goals in the win.
Quenneville didn’t rule out using Kyle Cumiskey on defense this series even though he’s appeared in just seven games this season. No matter what the Hawks do, don’t expect Anaheim to change much of their approach as they try to go up 2-0.
“You know what, I don’t know what adjustments they’re going to make. I worry about our team, playing the way we play. I mean, we’ve looked at all their games, an awful lot of their games, from the whole course of the year.,” said Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau. “They’re not going to make any drastic changes because I think what they do works. So hopefully we’ll get better in the things we didn’t do well in the last game.”
“We are who we are. Our DNA is not changing. We’ll play hopefully better, but basically the same way.”