Blackhawks set to hunker down for long series

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews plays against the Boston Bruins in overtime during Game 2...

Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews plays against the Boston Bruins in overtime during Game 2 of the Stanley Cup final Saturday. (REUTERS/John Gress)

ROB LONGELY, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:11 PM ET

BOSTON - They've lost some momentum and they've lost home-ice advantage.

But as Chicago Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane pointed out Sunday, they're a far cry from losing the Stanley Cup final.

While there was some mild panic in the Windy City after the Hawks fell 2-1 in overtime to the Boston Bruins in Game 2 the night before, the mindset of the team is to hunker down for a long series.

"Listen, they're in the Stanley Cup final for a reason," said Kane, shortly after the team arrived here for Games 3 and 4 Monday and Wednesday. "It's not like you're going to have the momentum or dominate a full three periods. Obviously you'd love that.

"We know momentum is huge in the playoffs because you want to keep it as long as you can. When you let the other team have it, you want to get it back as quick as possible."

YOU BET

The betting lines for the final are sending mixed messages, which makes the linesmakers and those who invest with them just like everyone else trying to figure out what's going to happen this series. For Monday's Game 3, the Bruins are solid favourites (at minus-130 in some Las Vegas sports books) but the Blackhawks remain a slight favourite to win the series.

GAME ON

How blue was the air in the Bruins dressing room after their awful first period on Saturday? Let's just say Tyler Seguin took off his shoulder pads, which contained a microphone for the telecast, in anticipation of the X-rated response. "I definitely knew it was coming," Seguin said Sunday. "So I definitely threw my shoulder pads in the training room and put a towel over it so no one could hear what we were saying. I think we needed that team wake-up call." ... Daniel Paille may be a plugger, but his overtime strike Saturday was his second game-winning goal in 18 playoff games this spring. That, by the way, equals the total from his previous 246 regular-season games ... Perhaps not surprisingly the Bruins are the only team to have a winning record on the road this post season, improving to 6-3 Saturday. In those nine games away from TD Garden, they've outscored the opposition 29-18 ... With both games in the final so far going to overtime, the 2013 playoffs now have a share of second overall for the most in one playoff year with 26 through 82 games. The record is 28 through 85 games in 1993 ... Bruins coach Claude Julien acknowledged what was obvious to the "Thank you Kessel" crowd in the Maple Leafs-Bruins series. Seguin wasn't effective in that first-round series but has shown his best in the first two games of the final. "I think he had a slow start obviously in that Toronto series," Julien said. "But his game got better. When you see his compete level, how hard he works to get to the puck, get the puck, hang on to it, stuff like that, it got better." Julien found a little magic by putting Seguin on a line with Chris Kelly and Paille after the first period Saturday and the unit responded with both Boston goals.

MORE SCORE

Don't expect much work between games from either team the remainder of the post-season. The effects of the shortened season, a lengthening playoff run and plenty of overtime games makes rest more important than re-hashing drills. "Our guys know at this stage of the year, rest always trumps practice," Julien said. "Because right now if you don't know what you have to do out there, you shouldn't even be here." ... Julien on his overtime philosophy (which helps explain why his team had the edge in the extra sessions of both games this series): "If you don't play on your toes, you don't go after it, you'll never win." ... Will the Hawks consider a lineup change to get a little more speed back? Quenneville acknowledged Sunday that it's possible winger Viktor Stalberg could draw in after sitting – being quite bitter about having to do so – Games 1 and 2. Stalberg was also benched for Games 1 and 2 of the Western Conference semifinal against the Detroit Red Wings.

QUICK HITS

It's become a Stanley Cup final tradition, 20 years running, that top prospects for the upcoming NHL draft make an appearance during the series. So Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Seth Jones and Darnell Nurse will all be at TD Garden to take in Monday's game. Among those playing in it that made a visit during previous Cup finals are Hawks stars Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and Bruins stars Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin ... The Bruins haven't lost at home since Game 5 of the opening-round series against the Leafs.

rob.longley@sunmedia.ca

@longelysunsport


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