After a very uninspiring performance in Game 3, the Chicago Blackhawks had better put together a better performance in Game 4 if they want the series to go past 5 games.
TV: CBC; RADIO: TEAM1200
SERIES SO FAR
Boston has been the better team as a whole, with Chicago basically having 2 dominant periods. The third period in game 1 and the first period in game 2 were the Hawks at their best. Almost every other period has been even or in the Bruins’ favor. That includes all three periods of game 3 that allowed Boston to win the first game in regulation in the series and take a 2-1 series lead into game 4.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Marian Hossa, CHI: The former Ottawa Senators winger missed game 3 with an upper body injury and is expected to play in game 4. If he can go, the question is how effective can he be? If he wasn’t good enough to go in a Stanley Cup Final game 2 days earlier, how much better can he be Wednesday? He was very noticeable by his absence and his presence (and then some) is required if the Hawks want to move on.
Daniel Paille, BOS: Nobody would have expected Dan Paille to have the winning goal in both Boston victories in this series, but that is what he has done. However, Paille’s strengths lie in his physical play and his defensive prowess. Any offense he can add is just a bonus.
TOP 3 STORYLINES FOR THE GAME
1. Offensive offence – The Blackhawks have not beaten Tuukka Rask in over 120 minutes, and aside from a deflection off a skate in game 1, they might have scored just 3 goals so far (they have 5) in the equavalent of more than 4 games when you include overtime. The Hawks have to find a way to get to Rask, and playing your best player with 2 4th liners isn’t the answer.
2. Wearing Down Big Z – Zdeno Chara has played a lot of minutes, but Chicago hasn’t made it tough on him. Chicago should have the likes of Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell finishing their checks on Chara every time they are on the ice, to wear the big guy down just a little bit. Easier said than done however.
3. Crawford – Win or lose, Corey Crawford has also vaulted into a higher level of NHL goaltenders with his performance in these playoffs. He has been overshadowed by Rask, but if not for Crawford, this series would have been over a long time ago. He has kept his team in games that they haven’t deserved to be in.
If Chicago can’t find a way to win this game, it won’t go past game 5. The Bruins have shown good killer instinct since the scare put into them by the Maple Leafs, which seems like decades ago now.