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updated: 5/25/2014 12:16 AM

Hawks better start to remember who they are

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  • Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, left, celebrates a win against the Chicago Blackhawks with goalie Jonathan Quick after Game 3 of the Western Conference finals of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 24, 2014.

      Los Angeles Kings defenseman Drew Doughty, left, celebrates a win against the Chicago Blackhawks with goalie Jonathan Quick after Game 3 of the Western Conference finals of the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoffs in Los Angeles, Saturday, May 24, 2014.
    Associated Press

 
 

Memory loss was expected to be a big factor Saturday night.

After blowing a 2-goal lead three days earlier, the Blackhawks had to forgot how they let that one get away.

Mission accomplished but with negative results.

The Hawks looked like they couldn't even remember what they had for breakfast, what day of the week it was and what their first names were.

The problem was that they also forgot what they were supposed to remember, which enabled the Los Angeles Kings to beat the Hawks 4-3 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

So how did this happen? How did the Kings take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series?

The Hawks didn't exercise selective memory, that's how. They forgot how to score on the power play, they forgot how to defense L.A.'s Jeff Carter and they forgot how they had been beating Kings' goalie Jonathan Quick.

All this after a pair of Jonathan Toews goals gave the Hawks leads of 1-0 and 2-1 in the first period. They didn't score again until four seconds remained in the game.

"This is no time to get discouraged, to get frustrated," Toews said after the loss. "It's just a matter of continuing the effort we had in the first period."

Sounds easy and maybe it is for the Hawks. As winners of two Stanley Cups in the past four years, they have made a habit of rebounding from adversity.

By that standard, the Hawks will rally, win Monday night in L.A. and return to Chicago with home-ice advantage.

"We have confidence in the (dressing) room," Hawks' center Michal Handzus said. "Obviously we can do it, but we have to be at our best the next game."

That can happen, however, only if the Hawks regain their memory and recall who they are, how they win championships and how playing on the road doesn't have to be a roadblock.

"They're certainly not easy to play against in (the Staples Center)," Toews said. "They got the lead and momentum and we couldn't find a way to get back."

One difference from the Hawks' previous playoff comebacks is that now, as became apparent during the third period of Game 2, L.A. has some of the same qualities the Hawks have.

The Kings, who won the Stanley Cup two years ago, have resilience and confidence and the overall mindset of champions.

The teams are close enough in ability that a bounce here and a break there can be decisive. Or as Handzus said, "it comes down to details."

And that other "D" -- not defense, but discipline. The Hawks have to demonstrate a higher level of that if they are going to prevail.

"We've played nine periods and seven have been pretty good," Hawks' head coach Joel Quenneville said. "They've had two big third periods on us."

On this night that translated into the Kings having an 18-7 edge in shots, including defenseman Drew Doughty's goal that extended the L.A. lead to 4-2 with 8:03 left in the game.

The Hawks didn't play well enough down the stretch to overcome that deficit. By the time Patrick Sharp scored in the final seconds, the Kings' victory was secure.

So the Hawks are in a predicament that isn't altogether unfamiliar, but they have to play better than they have the past two games, to say nothing of work harder and be luckier.

One way the Hawks can regain their balance is for everybody to play with as much urgency as Toews always does.

"He's a special player," Quenneville said. "We have to make sure we all look to play as hard as he does."

If the Hawks remember to do that, they'll have a chance to regain everything they lost last week.

If they don't ... forget about repeating as champions.

mimrem@dailyherald.com

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