There's an old adage that states a playoff series doesn't really "start" until the home team loses. Following that logic, and to keep things in perspective, the Hawks to this point have only done what they're supposed to do, which is retain the home-ice advantage.
For everyone that thought the United Center has been raucous over the past two games, Calgary is going to be equally as nuts tonight. There will be a lot of emotion in the building, and it is fully expected that the Flames will come out flying, hitting anything in sight. Conventional wisdom would dictate that the Hawks will just want to weather the storm, but even with the crowd on hand behind them in games 1 and 2, the Hawks found themselves down during that period.
Additionally, and though I have no statistical evidence to back this up, to me the Hawks seem to fare much better when attacking, not back on their heels waiting for the play to come to them. I will agree, however, that they will need to keep their composure during the extra curricular activities. Calgary has been wasting quite a bit of their energy as it is by bullying the Hawks in the opening minutes, only to not have enough left in the tank by the end of the game. This will only be intensified tonight, with the red-clad legions on hand for them tonight, in what is for all intents and purposes, a must-win for Calgary.
Late word coming from Calgary is that Patrick Kane will be a game time decision with an undisclosed injury. He's obviously been a target of the Flames so far, particularly Rene Bourque, so one of those hits obviously did a little more than initial appearances indicated. Though he's not been himself since the end of December, he still is always threat when he's out there, and the Hawks do rely upon that. And say what you will about him, but that little shit is a lot tougher than he gets credit for. Keep in mind, he's still only 20 years old, in an undersized body at that, is the target of every team he faces, and has missed 2 games of 166 in the last two years. I wont even speculate on the lines tonight, as Kane being out would put Fraser in, and things could get jumbled very quickly. In either scenario, don't expect Quenneville to attempt anything too unorthodox. And despite the hew and cry of the masses, yes, Matt Walker will be dressing.
On the other side of things, though, as Killion noted, Flames defenseman Cory Sarich is doubtful for the game tonight, and even if he does dress, he might end up being more of a liability than an asset in his current state, particularly with the Hawks sending wave after wave of quick forwards in against him.
If you'll allow me to mix my metaphors, there's blood in the water, don't let 'em off the ropes now, boys. (That was for all 3 of you who miss Jesse Rogers' Hawks thoughts).
REMINDER: The extended SCH family will again be at the Whirlaway Lounge at 3224 W. Fullerton Ave in Logan Square for the game this evening. Stop on by and have a beer or 17 with us. It's close to the Logan Square Blue Line stop and the Fullerton bus stops right outside the door. So don't drive you if you don't have to.
So we hear that Kane misses practice and that he's "resting" and we all immediately assume he's beat up and discuss how the Hawks shouldn't let on how he can be beat up by bigger opponents..
and it turns out he has the flu.
Or at least that's the story the Hawks are sticking with for now.
From the official site:
The Hawks look to go up 3-0 in their conference quarterfinal series against Calgary tonight at 8:30 pm. Patrick Kane did not participate in the morning skate and will miss tonight's game with the flu.