Frustration seemed on the verge of boiling over in the final minute of the Blackhawks' 3-1 loss to the Red Wings that put them in a 2-1 hole in their Western Conference playoff series. But the Hawks are acting like they've been here before. And they have.
''We're down 2-1, but it's not the end of the world,'' defenseman Michal Rozsival said Tuesday at the United Center. ''We're playing a good opponent. It's not over yet.''
After winning the series opener 4-1 at the United Center, the Blackhawks lost 4-1 at home in Game 2 and 3-1 in Game 3 at Joe Louis Arena on Monday night. They are undaunted by the prospect of going down 3-1 with another game at Joe Louis Arena on Thursday night.
''It's gonna be a long series. I think we knew that going in,'' Hawks forward Patrick Sharp said. ''You never want to lose games, but you can certainly take positives out of it and build off things.''
After a less-than-stellar effort in Game 2, the Hawks increased their ''compete level'' in all phases of the game in Game 3 and still lost by two goals. But after missing out on several good scoring opportunities -- particularly Viktor Stalberg's close-in shot that hit the crossbar and Stalberg's third-period goal that was disallowed for goaltender interference -- the Hawks figure the same effort could bring better results in Game 4.
''I don't think there's any worry or panic in our locker room,'' Sharp said when asked about the team's scoring troubles -- two goals in the last two games. ''We created a few chances. There were plenty of opportunities out there, hit a couple of posts. Goals are gonna come when you least expect them.''
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville shook up his lines after Stalberg was injured in the first period and stuck with some of the changes even after Stalberg returned. Sharp played much of the game in place of Brandon Saad on the first line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.
He said he could change things up again in Game 4.
''We'll see,'' he said. ''We'll look at our lines as we go along here, whether we fluctuate in games or going into games. Loosen things up, maybe. But in our team game, we didn't give up a whole lot [in Game 3]. We didn't generate a ton, but we certainly had more offensive zone time.''
The Hawks met the physical challenge of the Red Wings much more in Game 3 than in Game 2. But Hossa and Rozsival indicated they need to take it to another level with so much on the line in Game 4.
''We need to be a little more on the edge,'' Hossa said. ''I thought we had great intensity, lots of energy [in Game 3], but also you know you don't want to overboard and take bad penalties because you know they've got really good player on the power play. You have to be smart about it.''
''I think there's a little bit of anger ...with the way we played,'' Rozsival said. ''I think that's a good thing. It can give us a boost of energy. Playing with a little anger, it's not a bad thing. I think it's going to help us in Game 4. Obviously we have to play better and step up our game.''
But the way Game 3 ended, with Andrew Shaw drawing a misconduct penalty in the final minute, the Hawks know they need to be careful about going over the line.
Playing [angry] doesn't give us a green light to take unnecessary or undisciplined penalties,'' Quenneville said. ''I think there's always a discipline that goes behind everything we've talked about -- whether it's playing with a purpose, but the purpose is discipline's No. 1.''