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 gracious enough to agree to keep a player blog that will appear on NHL.com throughout the Stanley Cup Final.
In his second entry, Bickell writes about how the Blackhawks lost Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final, 2-1, on Saturday night at United Center and what needs to be done to get over it when they get to Boston:
-- We felt good coming into Game 2 Saturday night. Confidence was on our side. I know we had a good atmosphere in the dressing room. We felt positive, had a good game plan going into the game and then we had a really good first period.
They only had four shots on goal, we had 19 and we were leading, 1-0. But the game got away from us because we got away from our game. The table started to slant to their side and we just needed to simplify, but instead we were doing too much at certain times. Those kinds of plays aren't necessary. They don't help us.
We need to be better going forward, but we also have this bitter taste in our mouths now. Both games here at United Center go to overtime, we could have been up 2-0 but now it's tied 1-1 going into their building and we need to stay positive, adjust what we didn't do right and really just move on from there.
I really don't know why it changed after the first period in Game 2. I wish I had an answer. Maybe they realized they needed to pick it up and we didn't match their intensity. They came out flying in the second. But hey, it's the Stanley Cup Final, every game, every shift you need to be performing at your best and instead we took some steps backward.
We had a really good first period, but there were unforced errors that led us to the loss and now we have to shake this off going into Boston.
Coming into the dressing room after the game and, really, it just wasn't a good feeling after a loss like this. We could have been up in a great situation going into their building and still have home ice, but now it's tied 1-1 going into their building and they have an electric crowd, a hard building to play in.
It's going to be difficult in Game 3. We know that and that's another reason why it just didn't feel good in that room.
Everyone is disappointed. It's quiet. There wasn't much to be said. It's OT in the Final and one shot could have gone our way and we could have been up 2-0, but they snuck one by us. It was a quiet atmosphere.
And the other thing we have to deal with after every game is the media; it's never easy after a loss like that. It feels good when the media wants to talk to you after a win, especially like the one we got the other night in triple overtime. When you lose, it's tough; but you have to step up and talk to them.
Sure, you really just want to sit in a quiet room and collect your thoughts so you can move on, but you have to step up and give the media what they want, what they need because they have to do their job, too. You have to deal with it. You have to be professional.
Now, though, at least we can get some rest and I'll get a good meal before I go to bed. Maybe I'll watch the highlights, or if the game is on later I can watch to see what we did well and what we didn't do well to remind myself of what worked and what didn't work. Then it's time to get some sleep and then get ourselves to Boston tomorrow afternoon. We have to get our mindset on that third game right away.
The end result was disappointing in Game 2, but there is a tomorrow and that's the most important thing.