After dropping two games in Philadelphia and having a number of critical mental errors cost the team goals in both games, it’s easy to imagine that the youngest team in the league might be lacking for a little mojo. Coming home, though, the Blackhawks are still talking like the favorite that went up 2-0 at home to start the series.
“We know who we are, we know what kinda group we have,” said Patrick Kane. “We know that if we play the way we can, we should win.”
That confidence was stressed by all of the Hawks after a morning practice that, contrary to reports on Saturday, saw no major line changes from Game Four. Despite fairly dramatic line shifts in the third period of Game Four, it appears that Quenneville doesn’t intend to blow things up before Game Five. Adam Burish skated with Dave Bolland and Kris Versteeg on the third line, but coach Joel Quenneville was clear about Andrew Ladd’s status after practice.
“He’s playing. Him and [Duncan Keith] were just resting,” the coach stated.
Ladd’s status wasn’t the only point Quenneville made in his comments after practice. The Hawks defense needs to be better.
“We’ve been a little more generous around our net than we have probably through any stage in the year,” said Quenneville. ”I think that’s where we have to tighten it up. You have to earn your breaks, and you have to earn your bounces. I think we have to be harder in those areas. I think you get rewarded when you do that.”
Troy Brouwer agreed with his coach, and stressed that the team understands the importance of Game Five.
“There’s no room for nerves tonight,” said Brouwer. ”No room for being tentative, no room for being unsure of ourselves. We’ve gotta go out and play a good, confident hockey game.”
While the team doesn’t know about any line changes, they all are glad to be home. Patrick Sharp looks forward to playing in front of a Chicago crowd on Sunday night.
“Teams are comfortable playing at home,” said Sharp. ”I think there’s a general feeling that teams are more comfortable playing in their home building and taking advantage of that. We’ve got at least two more here at the United Center. We want to make sure we play well in Game 5.”
They’ll get their chance to show that confidence to their home fans at 7 o’clock Sunday night.