May 18, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Detroit Red Wings left wing Johan Franzen (right) is congratulated by defenseman Brendan Smith (2) after scoring a goal in the third period of game two of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center. The Red Wings won 4-1. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

What To Expect In Game Three

Much like the Anaheim Ducks series, the Red Wings are coming back home tied in the series 1-1.

And much like the Anaheim Ducks series, we can’t help but get our hopes up a little bit. The team looked better in Game Two – not perfect, of course, but definitely much better than the first game. As if they can keep up with Chicago in a game…or at least not fold completely in the third period.

Of course, it could continue to be like the Ducks series and Chicago could win Game Three in a blowout, deflating Wings fans and making us tear our roster to shreds again.

It’s a roller coaster, up and down, up and down.

What should we prepare for in tonight’s Game Three? Some damn good hockey.

Both Detroit and Chicago are going to come out, guns blazing. Chicago has seen that despite the times when we look shaky, we can still win games. Battling us is not a walk in the park. Nor is battling them. The Blackhawks are a team that you cannot, under any circumstances, underestimate.  They can come back in a moment’s notice, scoring a flurry of goals and tying up the game.

This series is not over by a long shot. So what should we expect in tonight’s Game Three?

Well, the Red Wings’ third line has done their job of taking some pressure off the top two lines, especially when Henrik Zetterberg is tasked with canceling out Jonathan Toews as best as he can rather than score (and he’s been effective at that). Joakim Andersson works hard every shift and looks phenomenal on the penalty kill. Gustav Nyquist is slowly realizing that he doesn’t have to do fancy spinning moves every shift. And Damien Brunner discovered that he can score goals without Zetterberg on his line. Expect them to keep it up and keep getting some of the better chances for the Red Wings.

Like I said above, if Zetterberg can keep Toews in check, that’s one less force the Red Wings need to worry about. Toews hasn’t done much in this series so far, and much of that is thanks to Zetterberg.

Jimmy Howard has to continue to be awesome. That’s not difficult for him. He can’t stop every single shot, but he can try his hardest. He’s been doing that in both series so far. Howard is the least of our worries when it comes to allowing goals. Which brings us to our defense…

Previously noted on our site here, we’ll have to see which Brendan Smith decides to show up in tonight’s game: The one that looks like a brilliant playmaker on the blue line, or the one that looks like a complete and utter rookie who makes even Kyle Quincey look good. The defense was much more active in the last game, and I’m sure Mike Babcock talked to them to make sure they continue doing whatever they did, because it worked.

Chicago’s going to come out with a vengeance. Tonight’s game is not going to be easy nor will any other game this series. The Blackhawks are a top contender for the Stanley Cup this year for a reason, and the playoffs don’t change that fact or their playing style.

Minnesota didn’t give the Blackhawks much of a problem, but the Red Wings don’t plan on letting them make it past without at least a little bit of trouble.

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Tags: NHL Playoffs

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