The desperation is as obvious as the frustration. The Red Wings must win Game 4 tonight.
Rationalizing that they deserve better after outplaying Nashville through the majority of the nine periods doesn't matter. They trail, 2-1. It's unlikely they would survive a 3-1 deficit against a surging team clearly unimpressed with whatever remains of the Wings' championship aura.
A loss tonight, and the Wings will face their third 3-1 series deficit in their last four playoff series, stretching to the second round in 2010 against San Jose. Panic isn't in this team's DNA because so many Wings have experienced so much over time, but there should be concern with the recent familiarity of such disastrous situations.
"We're still confident that this remains a very long series," captain Nicklas Lidstrom said Monday, "but we understand the urgency in that we're approaching Game 4. There are things that we have to do better. You have got to stay disciplined. You've got to keep your cool and not get sucked into taking bad penalties."