Hawks Continue Slide, Drop Game 4 to Kings
Ask any Hawks fan what they thought the outcome of Game 4 was going to be and they would tell you it was going to be a win for the Hawks. Hawks fans and hockey experts alike aren’t used to seeing the Blackhawks struggle-let alone lose- especially in the playoffs. No one thought they would lose three times in a row and in such decisive fashion.
But that’s exactly what happened Monday night. The Hawks once again came out strong, but their effort only lasted for about half of the period and they did not score. The Kings then responded scoring 3 unanswered goals on just 6 shots, including two on power plays. The Hawks had two power play chances, but did not convert on either. Coach Quenneville even reunited Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane on the same line, but the pair combined for only one point on an assist.
This power play problem is seemingly turning into a pattern for the Hawks and one that does not have a solution in sight. Also it is concerning to see is the lack of sharp puck handling from the Hawks. Usually one of the best aspects of their game, they appear sloppy and out of sorts.
Despite all these struggles, the players are still confident in their ability to bounce back. A calm Patrick Kane said after the game: “We still feel good about our team in here, and we all know we’ve done it before.” This is true, but in the Joel Quenneville era, the Hawks are 1-3 in series (the one win coming from last year’s win over Detroit) when they trail 3-1. They will need to find some serious motivation and heart to bounce back if they want to move away from the past trends and repeat their comeback win last year.
Perhaps the calmness is sign of how good the Hawks actually are. They are well aware that they haven’t been playing their best hockey as of late and instead of frantically pressing, they are keeping their composure and faith in their ability. Duncan Keith stated: “ “It wouldn’t be worth winning the Stanley Cup if you didn’t have to go through any adversity.” Adversity is just what the Hawks are facing.
The only problem with this mentality is that the Kings aren’t going to roll over and be beaten easily. They have proven they are capable of winning under any conditions, whether it be coming back from a 3-0 deficit or winning a Game 7 on the road.
The Hawks are coming back to Chicago for Game 5 and though the Kings beat them there in Game 2, it should be a different feel. Even though game tickets are the cheapest in the playoffs thus far, there is no doubt that Hawks fans are nervous, ready to go and hopefully will be the difference in this elimination game. Or have they given up hope on the defending champs?