Chicago Blackhawks forward Bryan Bickell has become a prominent figure during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, taking on a key offensive role for a team seeking to win its second championship in four seasons.
Bickell, 27, scored eight goals over the first three rounds of the Stanley Cup Playoffs -- one fewer than he had in 48 regular season games. In the Western Conference Final, Bickell scored goals in three consecutive games, then added a pair of assists in the clinching Game 5 win against the Los Angeles Kings.
Bickell has been shut out through three games in the Stanley Cup Final.
He has been gracious enough to agree to keep a player blog that will appear on NHL.com throughout the series against the Boston Bruins.
In his fourth entry, Bickell writes about the Blackhawks 2-0 loss in Game 3 on Monday night, with some insight to the injury to Marian Hossa and his battle at the end of the game with Zdeno Chara:
BOSTON -- We knew we had to win one game here in Boston and we still can do that. We still have time to figure out their style.
But, let's not kid ourselves, it's tough out there. They're a good team. They play a simple game and they capitalize on our errors. That's what they did Monday night to beat us 2-0 in Game 3.
Now we have some time to think and regroup before Game 4, but we know it's almost a do-or-die situation even though it's really not. We know falling down 3-1 to this team will be difficult. It's not what we plan to do and we know we can avoid it.
If you look at every Game 3 we've played in these playoffs, we're an O-fer. We have lost all of them, but we're still here in the Stanley Cup Final so obviously we're capable of bouncing back and getting the job done. That's what we have to do. That's what we can do.
We need a good start in Game 4. We had shots and opportunities here in Game 3, but we didn't get any second-chance opportunities or rebounds or screens to make it hard on them. We had some good puck movement and we got pucks to the net, but we couldn't get there to force the second opportunities and score on those.
That's frustrating, but it shows that we need some more passion and some more effort in our game.
We know the situation we're in, but we're staying positive and we're not getting down on each other. It's still a long series; we're only down 2-1. We can even this thing up on Wednesday and take it back to Chicago all tied up, but we need to bring ourselves to the rink and prepare to do that starting Tuesday. We need to have a game plan and we need to execute it.
At the end of the third period on Monday, we started pushing and pushing and pushing, but we need that the whole game. We can't wait. We can't react. We have to dictate.
I know everyone is going to want to know what happened first with Marian Hossa and second with my little tussle at the end of the game with Zdeno Chara.
First with Hossa, we knew earlier in the day that he could be a game-time decision, but he took warmups and skated all the way through like he was going to play. But, Hossa came into the room about 10 minutes before we were going on the ice and addressed the team, basically telling us that he was sorry, but he didn't feel he could be an effective player for us Monday night because of his injury.
No, I'm not revealing his injury, by the way.
He said he needs a couple of extra days to make it better so he can be an effective player. And, I've got to hand it to Smitty, Ben Smith, for going in without having skated in warmups and playing a good game. He just hopped in there and did his job. I know Hossa didn't want to sit that game out, that much was clear, but we've gotta give it to Smitty because he played well.
And, for my incident with Chara, I almost scored right before that. I hit the post and it went out, and then it was just a battle in front of the net between the two of us. We're two big guys, but clearly he's got the height and the weight advantage. I'll give that to him, but we're just battling out there. It's going to happen.
There were a couple of cross checks, back and forth. It was just a one-on-one battle getting position in front of the net with about 20 seconds left in the game. Both teams want to win and they're going to do whatever it takes to do so.
To be honest, though, we have to show them more of that and more fire on the ice, on the bench in Game 4. We just have to be better.