Coach Q: Time to step it up, Hawks
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Stanley Cup playoffs are all about how you respond to adversity, such as the overtime loss the Blackhawks suffered Sunday.
How they respond Tuesday to that Game 4 defeat could define the rest of the series.
"Part of the challenge for us next game will be to brace against their pushback," Minnesota coach Mike Yeo said Monday. "We know they're going to come hard and I'm anxious to see how we respond against that.
"I expect to see probably their best game of the series. I'm expecting them to come play a more physical game, a grinding game. It's certainly not hard to read the clips and understand that they're going to have sort of a shooting mentality and a crashing-the-net mentality, so we have to be prepared for that."
The Hawks certainly don't feel they gave the Wild their best effort in Sunday's 3-2 overtime loss. Not only do the Hawks plan to be more physical, they think they played too slow.
"We want to play fast," Patrick Kane said. "Teams can be physical, but when we're moving it's tough to catch us."
"It seems like there were times we were getting the puck and standing still," added Brandon Saad. "We're a fast team. We have to use that to our advantage."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville would like to see everyone's game raised a few notches from Sunday.
"We want to make sure we have more urgency to our game, the directness and the passion that comes with playoff hockey," Quenneville said. "I'd like to see a very intense team. You watch other playoff series and you can see, whether it's the animosity, the hatred, the battles — it's playoff hockey. That's the level we've got to get to and go from there."
No question the Hawks need more production 5-on-5 out of their first line. Marian Hossa has a goal in the series, but it came on a power play. Jonathan Toews still is looking for his first point, as is Saad.
"We have to go more to the net," Hossa said. "We had a few chances, but I feel we can turn it up a little more. I feel when we're in their zone they have five guys protecting the house and it's really hard to go through that. We have to find a way."
The Hawks must be more physical than they were in Game 3, when they were outhit by the Wild 34-13. Quenneville left the door open for Daniel Carcillo to play for the first time in the series in an attempt to find more of the nasty.
"They came out and outhit us a lot in the first period," Bryan Bickell said. "It's a little slap on our wrist and we're not happy about it. We just weren't ready to play. Our intensity level wasn't there. We need to pick up our game quite a bit."
Quenneville thinks the physical aspect is more of a team thing.
"Everybody has to be looking for hits or counter hits," Quenneville said. "Whether it's a hit or a counter hit, we need to have more than the 13 we had (Sunday).
"You got to be willing to go to those tough areas, but if you're going to stand still you're going to get hit. We had a little hesitation in our game and it kind of feeds into that. We want to make sure we have more motion and movement in our game."
The Wild's Matt Cullen knows the Hawks can't be intimidated by physical play, only bothered by it.
"It's a physical league and they know to handle physical play," Cullen said. "It's more of a matter of we played really well and we were on top of pucks and on top of them, taking away time and space. The physical play was an important part as well.
"They're very good and they're very experienced and they're very proven. We haven't done much. We've won one game and we're going to keep perspective on that. They're a good team and they've had an unbelievable season. For us it was proving to ourselves a little bit that if we bring our best game we can win."
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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