The Hawks have struggled greatly in the third period against the Golden Knights in the first two games of their series. They lost control of Game 1 in the period, then saw the momentum turn in the period en route to an overtime defeat in Game 2.
Defenseman Slater Koekkoek offered a fascinating — and slightly amusing — analysis Friday of why that has happened.
‘‘I was talking to another guy on the team [about this],’’ Koekkoek said. ‘‘[The Knights] force you to be so disciplined throughout the first two periods. We were good last night, playing our game.
‘‘Then they make you want to get out of your structure to try to create offense, and that’s where they get you. Once you start cheating on the wrong side or try to create offense, that’s when they capitalize on you.
‘‘That could be why they’re such a good third-period team.’’
With the Hawks needing at least one victory in the back-to-back Games 3 and 4 this weekend to stay alive, they’ll try to avoid the Knights’ temptations and stick to their game plan for all 120 minutes.
But coach Jeremy Colliton said he has advised his players not even to think about Game 4.
‘‘It’s [about] focusing on the next shift, focusing on what’s right in front of you,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘We’re certainly not going to look ahead to Game 4. It’s our biggest game right here, and that’s the one we’ve got to focus on. We’ll be ready for puck drop.’’
Boqvist likely to return
Rookie defenseman Adam Boqvist — a surprising healthy scratch in Game 2 on Thursday — likely will return to the lineup for Game 3, based on Colliton’s comments Friday.
‘‘He’s a young player, [and] it’s a high level,’’ Colliton said. ‘‘We’re asking a lot out of him. But we think he can bring just his puck plays and his ability to break us out clean. . . . The things he can do on the offensive [end] just provide a little bit different dimension.
‘‘He got a rest, and he’ll have the opportunity to come back. We’ll figure out the lineup [for Game 3] tomorrow, but I think he can help us.’’