Now, with two days’ rest following their 3-1 loss at United Center in Game 1 and the opportunity to win a fifth road game in seven chances, a more determined effort is expected.
“We expect a dangerous team,” Blackhawks Coach Joel Quenneville said. “Whenever they face adversity, they seem to rise to the occasion and they’re a great road team.
“We expect them to come at us very hard. They’re going to push the pace, [so] let’s be aware of what they’re going to do, but let’s be the team that sets the tone.”
With more rest afforded them before Game 3 Saturday at Staples Center, all signs point to the Kings taking their best shot at the Blackhawks on Wednesday night.
“I don’t know if 'best shot' is the best way to put it. I think everyone expects the Kings to improve as the series goes on, just like the 'Hawks will,” Chicago left wing Patrick Sharp said. “The first game is always a feeling-out process. It was an entertaining, hard-fought game. We’ll take the rest when we can get it, too. We know there’s a lot of tough hockey coming against a good team.
“The Kings can shut it down, defensively. They have a lot of speed, talent and whatever kind of game they want to play, they can play it.”
Chicago is on a 9-2 roll and has kept opponents to just one goal in five of those wins. The Blackhawks are 7-0 at home.
“We always want to play the same, regardless of how the other team feels,” forward Kris Versteeg said. “We expect a good hockey game, a hard series, with a better effort from them from the other night.”
The Kings rallied from 3-0 down to win their first-round series weeks ago against San Jose, and Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad and his teammates are well aware that no one wants a 2-0 deficit against the defending champions.
“Anytime you get down a game, you come back flying,” Saad said. “They’re going back home after this, they want to steal this one. We’ve just got to match their intensity. We know they’re a desperate team. We have to match that desperation.”
Chicago center Andrew Shaw skated again with the team at Wednesday’s morning skate, but he won’t play Wednesday night as he continues to recover from a right leg injury that has kept him out since May 2.
“I’ve just got to keep pushing myself,” Shaw said.
Said Quenneville: “The way he plays, we want him more than ready. He wanted to play, but he needs a few full practices. It’s in everyone’s interest to shoot for Saturday.”