May 20, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings goalie Jimmy Howard (35) makes a save from Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) in the first period in game three of the second round of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Let's Not Underestimate The Blackhawks

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Much to nearly everyone’s disbelief, the Red Wings defeated the Chicago Blackhawks in Game 3 to take a 2-1 series lead and continue their home ice advantage.

It’s quite easy to get ahead of ourselves in this situation. The Red Wings were never ahead in the series against Anaheim. Literally everyone (okay all but one) counted this team out against Chicago. In the third period last night, you could visibly see how this team had gotten under the skin of the Blackhawks.

And it made us Red Wings fans proud to see how far this team has come in the nine playoff games they have played this season. The veterans and the rookies have dug deep and overcome quite a bit to be the clunky, not-exactly-well-oiled-but-still-decent machine they are now.

We could sit here and tell everyone, “We told you so!” But 1) that’s extremely rude, conceited, and unsportsmanlike, but most importantly, 2) that’s getting way ahead of ourselves. There are still potentially four games to go in this series, and with two days between games, now is not the time for the Red Wings to think they have this one in the bag.

The Blackhawks are going to come out with a vengeance on Thursday evening.

While Jonathan Toews had no points in Game Three, he did have six shots. Perhaps Henrik Zetterberg did not have a firm eye on him, though keeping him to zero points is still good. Andrew Shaw was out for blood in the third period of last night’s game, seeming to look for players to hurt.

And let’s not forget about that goal that was waved off for goalie interference because Shaw’s entire body was in the blue paint. Waived-off goals are the bane of any team’s and fanbase’s existence, but you have to shake them off at some point. They sting for quite a long time, and us Wings fans know how that goes, what with Tomas Holmstrom on our team for a million years.

The Blackhawks have been Cup contenders the whole season for a reason. A Game Three victory isn’t going to be their downfall, as much as us fans would like to believe.

This is a team that has depth. They are dangerous. Marian Hossa‘s wrist shot scares me every freaking time. Patrick Kane has that crazy ability to suddenly be wide open and score goals. Ditto for Patrick Sharp. And Corey Crawford has played some darn good hockey – our players were just hungrier, or we caught a fortunate bounce/break.

The Red Wings have the ability to beat the Blackhawks and move on to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2009. They just need to stay the course. Jimmy Howard has to keep playing solid hockey. The third line needs to keep being dominant. And the top guns need to keep pulling stuff out of their bag of tricks.

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Tags: Detroit Red Wings NHL Playoffs

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