Tuesday's roundup: Hawks calmly await the challenge
Chicago — Jonathan Toews remembers his first postseason series in 2009, and the emotions that went along with each game. These days, the playoffs are a much different experience for the captain of the Chicago Blackhawks.
There was no panic for Toews and company on Tuesday, a day after a 3-2 loss to steady Tampa Bay shoved Chicago into a 2-1 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals. No outward display of frustration.
Trying for their third NHL title in six seasons, the Blackhawks expected a fight — and the skilled Lightning are delivering just that on every level.
"If you don't want that challenge, if you don't want that spotlight almost, then you shouldn't be here," Toews said. "I think we all work for that. We want to play those important games."
One of those important games is coming up tonight. The Lightning have clamped down on Toews and Patrick Kane, limiting the high-scoring duo to a single point in the series, and can grab control of the finals with their fifth straight road win in Game 4.
"This is going to be a good test for this group," Tampa Bay captain Steven Stamkos said.
"Obviously, they have the experience. But we're going through it. Like I said a couple minutes ago, you have to go through these situations to gain that experience.
"We seem to rise to the occasion every round."
The Lightning jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second round against Montreal, and then dropped two in a row before eliminating the Canadiens with a 4-1 win in Game 6. They headed home with a 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference finals against the New York Rangers, and then had to return to Madison Square Garden for a 2-0 victory in Game 7.
Tampa Bay's experience playing with the lead in its previous two playoff series could help against Chicago.
"I truly believe we've grown as a team through some of our struggles," coach Jon Cooper said.
"You just think of last night's game. We're in a pretty hostile environment. It's a 1-1 game. We go down in the third. There was no hang the head. It was, 'OK, now we got to dig the heels in and go get this one.' "
Emrick wins award
Mike Emrick, the voice of hockey in America, will receive the Vin Scully Award for lifetime achievement.
Emrick, who is calling the Stanley Cup Finals, will be presented with the award on Nov. 2.