DETROIT — For the first time all season, the Blackhawks have come face to face with some real adversity.
By losing 3-1 to the Red Wings on Monday night in Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena, the Hawks find themselves behind 2-1 in the Western Conference semifinals.
Game 4 is back here Thursday, with the Hawks facing about as close as it gets to a must-win situation.
“We just have to dig down deep,” said Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith. “Just because we haven't faced a whole lot of adversity this year doesn't mean we've never faced it in our lives before.
“Let's face it: Winning in the playoffs isn't easy. It's not always going to go your way.”
Sometimes the calls go against you, which is what happened at 5:43 of the third period, just more than a minute after Patrick Kane scored to cut Detroit's lead to 2-1.
It appeared that Viktor Stalberg had tied it with a goal through a screen, but the referees wiped it out, ruling that Andrew Shaw was in the crease and interfered with goalie Jimmy Howard.
Replays showed there was no contact.
“We did everything we could to get the momentum back, and we did, but then we kind if hit the wall there after they disallowed the goal,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said.
“I disagreed with the call. He didn't touch the goalie. It certainly did (change the momentum of the game). We're 2-2 and we had the momentum. We had everything going with some hits and offensive zone time. Obviously coming back from 2-0 that quickly you're in a great spot.”
Pavel Datsyuk scored a minute after that to make it a 2-goal lead again for the Red Wings.
“I wasn't down there, so I don't know exactly what happened, but from what I saw I find it hard to believe that our player restricted the goaltender from making the save,” Hawks captain Jonathan Toews said.
“The puck came from the same side and he was against his post, so I don't understand that one.
“Whenever you get a goal called back it's a frustrating thing, but give us credit. We stuck with it and worked hard. We know there's going to be some adversity; we know there are going to be some tough moments in these playoffs, and we just have to rise to the occasion.”
Detroit coach Mike Babcock thought Kane's goal at 4:35 shouldn't have counted because of a hit from behind into the boards that Niklas Hjalmarsson laid on Johan Franzen.
While Keith picked up the loose puck and fed Kane for the breakaway, Franzen was on the ice at the other end.
“It should have been a two-minute penalty,” Babcock said. “But this is the way I look at it. Those referees are trying to get to the Stanley Cup Finals like the rest of us, and it's fast.
“When I go in and watch the replay and see that that's a penalty, they don't get to watch the replay.”
The Hawks haven't lost three games in a row all season.
“I feel we played some real good hockey for three periods and just didn't score enough goals to win,” Toews said. “That call goes against us and they come back and score — we were fighting all game, trying to get control of the game and never did.”
Goals by Gustav Nyquist and Drew Miller 31 seconds apart early in the second period busted open what had been a scoreless game.
Nyquist scored at 7:49 when Damien Brunner flipped the puck high over Nick Leddy at the left point. Nyquist chased the puck down then cut around Brent Seabrook to beat Corey Crawford from a tough angle to the left.
Miller made it 2-0 at 8:20 after a turnover by Michal Rozsival, who was then beat back by Patrick Eaves. Crawford stopped Eaves' shot, but a diving Miller poked in the rebound.
The Hawks were 0-for-4 on the power play and looked mostly lost.
“We're not frustrated at all,” Keith said. “Obviously, we want to score goals, but they do a good job on the penalty kill. For sure we'd like to get a goal on the power play. We just have to keep with it.”
The Hawks outshot the Red Wings 15-9 in a fast-paced but scoreless first period. It might have been the best period of the playoffs for the Hawks, who were engaged and feisty.
“I thought we had more play in their end; I thought we had more predictability in our game,” Quenneville said. “We didn't get slowed down in certain areas, but we're going to have to be better than we were today. We were certainly a lot better today.”
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