Well, we have reached the evening that every Blackhawks fan was waiting for. It is Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals, which means the series with the Red Wings shifts to the Windy City. The Blackhawks are 5-1 at home during the postseason, have had the best attendance all season long, and have fed off the crowd's energy most of the time.
Detroit has been here before. They have won in all different types of environments in their numerous runs to the Stanley Cup over the years. They have veterans on this team that will not be affected by 22,000 crazy fans chanting "Detroit S---s" the entire game.
Chicago played well in Game 2, but their own mistakes and a tremendous effort from Wings goalie Chris Osgood gave the Hawks a 3-2 overtime loss. They are in a 0-2 hole in a series for the first time this postseason, and Chicago can only hope that the home crowd can get them going.
The Hawks have scored the first goal in the first two games, only to see their early leads vanish as the game went on. In the previous round against Vancouver, Chicago scored the first goal only once. They need to continue this newfound pattern of grabbing the lead. This will allow the crowd to continue to go crazy, and the Hawks can feed off the energy for the rest of the game. Yet, even if they do score early, Chicago knows Detroit will not be going away.
From the "Here Come the Hawks" song to Jim Corneilson's anthem to the "Chelsea Dagger" goal song, the atmosphere at the United Center has been crazy all season. It will need to be great again, but only the home team's play on the ice can control whether that it is the case.
Either way, it will not be easy. Detroit does not care how exciting the playoff atmosphere has been in Chicago. They have seen it before in numerous venues, so the crowd will not be enough. It is about the Hawks players, and if they keep making mistakes, this series will be over in a heartbeat.