The Chicago Blackhawks have seen the 2-1 hole before and everything they've said leading up to Game 4 against the St. Louis Blues indicates their ready to swing back. Anger was a consistent theme among players following the team's blown Game 3 loss over the weekend and now it will try to channel that frustration into a better result Tuesday night.
Corey Crawford: "We've got to get pissed off. I think we are right now." #Blackhawks— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) April 17, 2016
The Hawks had the chance to take the series lead Sunday after going ahead, 2-1, entering the third period, but blew a lead after two periods for the first time in over 70 games. The game-tying goal came on a positively ridiculous bounce -- first the puck hit Michal Rozsival, then skipped off the ice over Crawford's glove -- and Patrick Kane followed that by whiffing on a cross-check to earn himself a four-minute penalty for high sticking.
The Blues came away victorious and now the Blackhawks are in a hole entering Game 4. The team has seen this 2-1 deficit many times before and generally thrives in Games 4-7 of playoff series, but it's hard to tell whether that trend is due to continue or meant to be broken. We'll get a better idea when the puck drops at the UC.
Key Question: Will puck luck decide an incredibly close series?
The thing about a seven-game playoff series is that the better team doesn't necessarily win. Just a few bounces can decide a series when two teams are so close on paper. And over seven games, there's no assurance of regression to the mean. Sometimes, you can simply have bad luck for seven games and get sent home.
The Blackhawks feel like a team at risk of getting caught in that kind of spiral. Over the first three games, we've seen fortune go both ways, but St. Louis has undeniably taken advantage of some good luck. Multiple Blues goals have come off lucky deflections in this series. If Andrew Ladd's third-period shot goes in instead of hitting both posts and the Blues never get that insane bounce on the game-tying shot, there's a decent chance the Hawks are sitting up 2-1 right now.
But those bad bounces happened and now the Hawks are in a hole because of it. Maybe they can overcome, but it's undeniable that needing to win three of the next four games puts the odds against them.
There's hope in statistics like a low shooting percentage, but unlike in the regular season when we can point to an 82-game sample and note that regression is likely, that's not necessarily the case here. The Hawks are shooting 5-of-110 (4.5 percent) so far in this series. During the regular season, they were at 9.4 percent. If that number doesn't go up -- and it might not -- Chicago is going to have a very tough time winning this series. The Hawks need luck on their side, and so far, that hasn't quite been the case.
How to watch Hawks vs. Blues Game 4
When: 8:30 p.m. CT
Where: United Center, Chicago
TV: NBCSN, CSN Chicago (U.S.) | Sportsnet, TVA Sports (Canada)
Stream: NBC Sports Live Extra