Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals is all set for tonight as the series shifts to the “windy city” of Chicago and the Madhouse on Madison.
By Patrick Comia
Will we see Madness at the Madhouse in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals?
With the fallout of Game 2 still fresh on the minds of hockey fans, here are a few questions leading up to the matchup on the ice.
1. Where has Patrick Kane gone?
Dan Rosen of NHL.com wrote an article about Patrick Kane and his struggles this series. Is it Tampa Bay Lightning’s defense preventing the superstar from breaking out? Or is it internal for the 26-year old?
Whatever it might be, Kane hasn’t been able to make an immediate impact on the series through the first two games.
His stats are telling of his struggles.
Kane has no points and -1 in +/- rating, averaging close to 21 minutes a game. He has three shots on goal, however all coming in Game One. He registered zero in Game 2.
All the while, Kane was playing on a line with Jonathan Toews and Brandon Saad, a decision that head coach Joel Quenneville stuck with after the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks for the last two games of the series, totaling four points (one goal, four assists) and was +2.
For tonight’s game, it looks like Quenneville will separate the Kane and Toews combination and see if he can respond.
2. Have the Triplets awaken from their nap?
After the Lighting trio dominated their Eastern Conference Final opponent, the New York Rangers, they went missing to open the series with the Blackhawks with zero points and a combined -2 rating.
Game 2 was a different animal for the line.
Tyler Johnson, Nikita Kucherov, and Ondrej Palat combined for three points (two goals, one assist) and a +6 rating. Kucherov lead the threesome with one goal and one assist.
If these three add to their success from Game Two, the Blackhawks defense will be scrambling all game.
A babysitter or two will be needed to keep this young trio in line.
3. Goalie questions for the Lightning
Game Two had a strange outcome for the goalies on both sides.
The obvious is that of Lightning’s Ben Bishop status for tonight. Last game, he left twice in the third period for some unknown reason and head coach Jon Cooper was not revealing any information, deciding to hold his cards close to his chest.
It’s not like he was getting shelled and having a difficult time handling the Blackhawks this series.
If he’s a no go, then it will be the rookie goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy, who made earned his first NHL postseason win in relief of Bishop.
Though he is three inches shorter than Bishop, he could be just as intimidating.
4. Will fans hear Chelsea Dagger?
With the Blackhwaks playing at home for the next two games, fans outside of Chicago will have an opportunity to hear the fun, upbeat goal song after a the team scores a goal. Also, it could be an annoyance, especially for the opposing team. In this case, it would be the Lightning.
And what better stage to do it than on national TV. If it’s played with frequency, Blackhawks nation could pick up a few more fans, who maybe undecided.
To do that, the team must score.
Through the first two games of the series, the team has scored five goals (Game 1 with two goals, Game 2: three goals).
All of those have had significant impacts on that game’s outcome. Combine that with their goal song, if they do it on home ice, then it could lead to a long night for the Lightning. If I were a player for the Blackhawks, I’d want to score a goal just so I can listen to it blasting in the arena and watching the fans go ballistic with joy.
Whether you love it or hate it, it’s become a staple for the Blackhawks that is contagious.
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