OK, everyone. Listen up.

I know you’re just waiting to get home so you can crack that first beer, put on your lucky sweater or whatever other things you do to make you feel comfortable and help you settle in to watch a playoff hockey game. Angst is so high that you’re developing a rash that makes it look like you’ve spent the night in a St. Louis hotel room that looked like a Warhol painting when you projected a black light on it. You’re nervous. That’s normal, and I get it. You’re supposed to be. The team you root for is down in a series to its longest known rival and you’re facing what is a must-win 4th game on the opponent’s home ice. Who wouldn’t be nervous about that?

It’s a good thing you root for the hockey team that has shown over a large enough sample size that it is better than the one dressing in the home red sweaters tonight.

Here’s what we know. The Chicago Blackhawks won the Presidents’ Trophy. That means they collected more points, and even furthermore, won more games than any other team over the truncated 48 game season this year. That same team easily dispatched the Minnesota Wild in five games to advance to where they are now. What I think we’re all losing a touch of perspective on is exactly where that is. Let’s see how we got to here.

Game 1: The Blackhawks win 4-1 in complete dominant fashion. At one point Patrick Kane had registered a CORSI of +19. Aside from about the first 10 minutes of the game, it was a whitewashing. You probably went to bed that night wondering how this team would match up with the Kings (which is a whole other topic now even). Then, Game 2 happened.

Game 2 was a complete role-reversal. I’ll spare you the terms of effort, will and determination. The Blackhawks got beat and the Red Wings were the team that beat them. Detroit was better for 60 minutes. It certainly showed. I have enough respect for that team to tip my cap and applaud their effort because I know when my team has been beaten.

[tips cap]

Game 3: 3-1 final score. A large swath of the Hawks fan base is frantically pacing and perhaps about to know what their lunch looks like 8 hours after they’ve consumed it. No one is going to fault you for that. Andrew Cieslak from HockeeNight wrote a post that encapsulated that angst. I like Slak, enjoy talking hockey with him and respect his thoughts and opinions on the game. But back to the actual event that was Game 3 of the 2013 Western Conference Semi-Finals. The Blackhawks, as is their game, dominated the possession. I mean, look at the cumulative CORSI of the Detroit defencemen. You’re adding correctly, trust me. That’s a -24. Jonathan Toews, he who has been the subject of quite a bit of digital ink in the last three days, led all forwards (including Detroit)  at a +14 in CORSI. The Hawks top pairing of Niklas Hjalmarsson and Duncan Keith led all skaters at +15 and +17 respectively. The team’s peripherals were great. They controlled possession and got off 68 shots towards the Detroit net. 40 of them got to Jimmy Howard. He stopped 39. That’s a great game by a goalie. This is a great shot by a great player that sealed the game. We can discuss the waved off goal if you like, but then we’d be remiss to not talk about how Hjalmarsson probably got away with a boarding call directly behind a play that closed the Detroit lead to one. The Hawks played their game to a level that usually wins, and Detroit made some plays in smaller time frames that ultimately won them the game. Their coach constructed a great gameplan, one that he’ll likely have in effect tonight but with a few tweaks because he’s quite the hockey coach, and it worked well enough to come away with a victory. That’ll happen sometimes and yeah, it’s a tough loss to swallow.

Good thing that same team is going out on the same sheet of ice with a chance to play the same game and ultimately come away with a different, positive result tonight. If they do that, this series becomes a best of three with two coming on United Center ice.

The Chicago Blackhawks are a great hockey team in 2013. They might be the best team in the league. They were in the regular season, and most notably, in four games against their current opponent. Opponent aside, I’ll say it one more time for emphasis. You root for a damn good hockey team. It’s chock full of talent. They are favored to win this series for a reason, actually, for a plethora of reasons. So with that…

Zetterberg? DEAD.

Datsyuk? DEAD.

Franzen? DEAD.

Kronwall? DEAD.

Babcock? DEAD.

NIEDERMEYER? (who? shut up, I’m rolling) DEAD.

Could you really ask to be in a more favorable position considering what has been laid out above? [pauses] I’m glad you know which way East and West is. Let’s Go Hawks.