Tonight is about getting the one. They all build up to getting the one victory in Vancouver to steal the home ice advantage and move toward making this at least a long series.
It's about getting the one goal, the one lead, the one moment that sees how Vancouver deals with being on their heels for the first time this series.
Things were awfully comfortable for the Canucks in Game 1.
After a dominating 1st period, the Canucks had a cushion that even with the Hawks pushing in the 2nd gave Vancouver the knowledge that it would take more than just one mistake to make things hairy. Their mettle was never put to the test.
The Hawks have to correct that tonight.
First, the surface issues. Tomas Kopecky won't go, and Fernando Pisani will replace him on the line with Viktor Stalberg and Ryan Johnson.
While we'd all like to believe that Pisani can recapture his playoff magic with the Oilers from 2006 in his first appearance back in the postseason, 2006 was a long time ago for someone in their mid-30's.
Pisani has pretty much been a ghost in the latter part of the season, and just doesn't have the speed to contribute in a series like this. Maybe it's in his head and he can find the reserves again, but don't count on it. Dave Bolland is still not ready as well.
The Hawks lines at practice this morning in B.C. were as follows, but these won't last for more than five minutes unless things are going real well:
For me, this was abandoned a little too quickly in the first period when the walls were caving in. But what's important here is that the Hawks need a Jonathan Toews tour-de-force tonight.
That's more likely than waiting for a supporting cast that has spent months proving they're not up to it. We have to whisper this, because people don't like it when you criticize the main men, but Toews's one goal in eight games just isn't enough.
There have been rumors he's hurt or at least banged up, but if he's out there then the Hawks need him out there to dominate.
As well as that, that fourth line has to at least crash something. Asking that of Bryan Bickell is like asking an elephant to submit a report on Samuel Beckett, but a boy can dream.
They have the potential to at least create some energy. We'll see if that happens.
As for Canucks, there's little they have to change. One expects the same crush they came out with on Wednesday, but there's a chance they don't, and the Hawks have to pounce.
The first goal would be so huge tonight. Take a lead, push them from the start, and let's see how they react when they know one mistake will cost them the game.
Don't allow them to just have to salt the game away in the 3rd period. Make them chase it. If they can stay composed, well, then this is a different Canucks team then we've ever seen.
There are some things to build on from Game 1. The Hawks stayed out of the box for the most part. Corey Crawford was composed and didn't leave many rebounds, and when he did the Hawks cleared them. The Sedins and Kesler were quiet.
Keep those tactics up, and this series goes a long way.