BOSTON -- The Chicago Blackhawks have excelled in Game 1 in all four rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
They’ve taken care of business in Game 5 in the first, second and third rounds.
Where the Blackhawks have run into a roadblock throughout the playoffs has been in Game 3.
The Blackhawks lost in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals to the Minnesota Wild, in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals to the Detroit Red Wings and in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals to the Los Angeles Kings.
And now, the Blackhawks encounter a Game 3 with the Boston Bruins in the Stanley Cup finals on Monday. The Blackhawks and Bruins are tied 1-1 in the best-of-seven series.
This time, the Blackhawks hope to prevail in Game 3.
“Yeah, I knew that stat [about the Game 3 losses] coming in,” Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane said at TD Garden on Sunday. “I think when you're at home the first two games, sometimes you get a little bit too comfortable at home. Then you come on the road, maybe it's like a rude awakening when you come and play on the road. We've had three series to figure that out, learn it. It was a huge Game 4 against L.A. to come back and win that one. We definitely want to be better [on Monday], especially in the first game on the road.”
Aside from all being losses, each Game 3 has marked the first time the Blackhawks have played on the road in each series. They have held home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs because they finished with the league’s best regular-season record.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville thought each Game 3 loss was unique in its own specific ways.
“Well, I thought Game 3 -- three Game 3s -- we played pretty well in Detroit when it was 1-1 in the series,” Quenneville said. “We had a 2-0 lead in Minnesota. In L.A., maybe we were comfortable with the situation coming off two nice wins. I thought Detroit got our attention after Game 2. It was one of those games, could have gone either way. Certainly, that's got to be our approach going into [Monday’s game] game -- desperate, something to prove. We're not happy with the ending. We have to be better.”
Despite the Game 3 losses, the Blackhawks have rebounded to advance in each round. They closed their series with the Wild with two consecutive wins after losing in Game 3. Against the Red Wings, the Blackhawks lost Games 2, 3 and 4 to fall behind 3-1 in the series and rallied with three consecutive wins. Against the Kings, the Blackhawks also bounced back and won Games 4 and 5 to take the series.
As for the Bruins’ luck in Game 3s this season, they have won all three of them, two on the road and one at home.
Quenneville expects Monday’s Game 3 to be a hostile environment, but he also looks forward to it.
“We're extremely excited about the challenge,” Quenneville said. “I think it’s a great challenge. We went into Detroit, knew we had to win a game. We put ourselves in a tough spot there. We're excited about being on the road. We haven't been on the road in a bit. The next couple games are back-to-back. With a day's rest, we like playing hockey. With those extra days, we like to get back out there and play. Let's play our game, play to our strengths. We're excited about the challenge.”