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Hawks look to bring 'A' game in Game 4

by Dave Lozo
PHILADELPHIA --  The Blackhawks have been outshot, outhit and thoroughly outplayed in the last two third periods of the Stanley Cup Final. Their power-play and penalty-killing units haven't been able to solve the Philadelphia Flyers throughout the series, either.

Despite all that, Chicago holds a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series with Game 4 Friday (8 p.m. ET, VERSUS, CBC, RDS) at Wachovia Center. And if you ask Brian Campbell, the Blackhawks have yet to bring their "A" game to this series.

"Not in this series, no," Campbell said. "We look forward to tonight. We had a good skate this morning and we're excited about tonight."

In Game 1, the Blackhawks outshot the Flyers 8-6 in the third period. Since then, it's been a different story.

The Flyers have a 30-8 shot advantage in the last two games (15-4 in both games) and have controlled the play. It didn't translate into a loss for Chicago in Game 2, but Philadelphia's strong push led to an overtime win in Game 3.

"The last two third periods, they've really taken it to us," said Patrick Kane, who had a goal and an assist in Game 3. "It's something we can definitely improve on and get better at. We'd like to finish the game strong. They've pretty much dominated us in that area.

"I think some of it is a little bit of human nature," Adam Burish said. "In big games, once you get a lead, you don't press as much, you're not taking as many chances, you try to play a little more solid defensively. So you're naturally going to see a few more chances for the team that's down. That's something we can do better."

Another area that needs improvement is the power play, which is 0-for-6 in the series and didn't get a chance during Game 1.

"A couple times we turned some pucks over," defenseman Brian Campbell said. "We need to take care of pucks a little more. We need more movement. We're standing still. I think if we involve some movement there and get some more pucks to the net and find ways to bang them home, we'll be on the positive side of that.

"Special teams sometimes win playoff series and wins the Stanley Cup."

By no means have the Blackhawks been overwhelmed by the physical nature of the Flyers, but they haven't been as aggressive as Philadelphia with the hitting. That slight edge hasn't been enough to prevent the Blackhawks from playing at a quick pace, but the players believe they could be moving even faster.

"They're playing good. They wouldn't be this far if they weren't a good team," Kane said. "I think with them, yeah they're a physical team and like to run around. If we move our feet, keep skating and moving the puck, we should be able to dictate the pace."

That's a lot of self-critiquing for a team that’s two wins away from a Stanley Cup. It's either a sign of a team in pursuit of perfection or one that's caught a few breaks to gain the lead in the series.

Kane is looking at the glass half-full.

"I think a lot of people are forgetting we're still up 2-1 in the series," he said. "I think we're playing pretty good. We're in a good position. If we take this one, we're obviously in a good position to win it at home."

Follow Dave Lozo on Twitter at: @DLozoNHL

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