I'm not sure why the Thunderbirds have made a habit of having slow starts recently, especially against Portland. Believe me, Portland is the last team you want to have a slow start against. It's as if the T-birds want to go into a "feeling out process" to see how the other team is going to play before they have a response. But there's no great mystery in what the Winterhawks are going to do. They are going to attack. If you sit back at the start of the game they are going to put you on your heels.
The T-birds didn't take a lot of penalties against Portland, but the ones they did were significant. Two penalties within 20 seconds of each other early in the first period gave Portland a huge opportunity to get on top and they capitalized quickly on the 5-on-3. Then early in the second Seattle's Evan Wardley is hit with a five minute charging major and the Winterhawks would score a second power play goal. When I saw the replay I didn't think it warranted more then two minutes but in this day and age, when leagues are trying to curb injuries and dangerous contact, officials often error on the side of caution.
Meanwhile, while the Winterhawks went 2-for-4 on the power play, the T-birds only had two power play chances and went 0-for-2. They were okay on the second 5-on-4 but the first power play, in the first period, didn't even generate a shot on goal. At some point they're gonna have to do a better job generating scoring chances with the man advantage.
I like that coach Konowalchuk mixed up his lines in the third period, looking for an offensive spark. He found some by putting Branden Troock and Justin Hickman together and they became a dangerous combination. The T-birds played very desperate hockey in the third period and almost fought there way back into the game but you can't wait until it is almost too late to play with desperation. That has to start from the opening face off. If you can play like that in the third period, you should be able to play like that in the first and second periods as well.