The Detroit Red Wings lead the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 in their second-round series. Game 4 will be a home game for Detroit, and while winning it would definitely put them in full control, it is actually a must-win game for them.
Granted, a loss will only tie the series, essentially making it a best-of-three, but two of those games would be scheduled to be played in Chicago.
Currently, the Red Wings are playing better than they did in the regular season and the Blackhawks are playing worse. Some may argue that momentum does not carry over from game-to-game, and while that is debatable, confidence does carry over.
The Red Wings are playing more rookies and young players then they have in recent history. So far they are responding well. Over half of the team’s goals scored in this series have come from rookies or end of the bench players.
This kind of confidence can grow with each successful game; however, it can also be shattered with a bad outing. That is why Game 4 is so important for Detroit. These young players need to learn how to keep the pressure on a team when they have them down.
The last thing the Red Wings want to do is to give Chicago any hope. The Blackhawks led the league with 77 points this season, five better than the next best team. They also led the league with a plus-53 in goal-scoring differential. This means that while they played great during the regular season, they also were not tested all that much.
The pressure will be more intense on the Blackhawks as they try to battle back from the unfamiliar territory of being behind. There is also added pressure on Chicago in that since winning it all in 2010, then have been ousted in the first round the last two years. With their great regular season, they entered these playoffs as one of the favorites to win the Cup. Falling behind to the seventh-seeded Red Wings by one game is bad enough, but to fall behind by two games would be too detrimental.
Historically, lower-seeded teams that are in Detroit’s position going into Game 4 do not have a great track record. According to whowins.com those teams only win the second-round series 41.5 percent of the time. If they win Game 4, those stats jump to 55.6 percent.
A loss by Detroit in Game 4 would completely change the series. After two very good games, they could swing everything back in the Blackhawks' favor and severely derail their efforts. When you have a team down, especially one that is better than you, you can not allow them any chance at a comeback. Game 4 is a must win game for the Red Wings.