Spring is most definitely in the air and in NHL terms that means the fight for playoff spots and seeding. The Hawks and the Blues already are in the playoffs it is yet to be determined exactly where they will ultimately end up within the division and conference. Today’s tilt will go a long way in deciding just that.
To say this is a preview of what could be the Blackhawks first round is a bit premature considering the Blues will be without a couple of key forwards and where each team ends up is still undecided. The Hawks also will face the Blues again this week Thursday so plenty of things can change.
Look for it to be an intense usual Hawks/Blues match. There is no love...
The Chicago Blackhawks (33-18-2/3rd Central) finished their long California road trip with two strong wins, one was versus the Winnipeg Jets, and the other was yesterday's 4-2 win over the Blues.
Yesterday in St. Louis, the Blackhawks opened up the scoring with Marcus Kruger. And while the Blues tied up the game twice, Marian Hossa put in the game-winning goal 11:19 into the third on the power play, and then for good measure, added an empty-net goal with 14 seconds left in the game. It was inevitable that Hossa's goal struggles would eventually end, so if he's going to get hot heading into the home stretch of games, that's good for the team.
The St. Louis Blues are probably not opera fans, but boy they heard the fat lady sing early with approximately four minutes left in the game the Blackhawks took control with a 3-2 lead and never looked back. There was so much to like in this game if you are the Hawks and a Hawks fan.
The Hawks are often guilty of not playing a full 60 minutes, but that was not the case in this one. Up by only a goal late in the third the Hawks not only never let the Blues out of their own zone to challenge, they sealed the win with a Marian Hossa empty netter.
The puck possession was the best they’ve had late in games this season. The Hawks dominated the entire third period with a 12-3 s...
Wednesday is one of those highly important Central division showdown games: second-place St. Louis (16-6-2) visits third-place Chicago (15-8-1). The two teams last faced each other on October 25th at the Scottrade Center.
The Blues have been very good on the road, going 7-3-1 thus far this season. Here's the quirk: they're managing a measly 2.18 G/G on the road, versus 3.00 G/G at home. It's worth keeping an eye on young Vladmir Tarasenko of the Blues, who's evolving into a dynamic scorer (14G, 12A in 24 games) and a possession leader on a team that hasn't historically been known for its offensive punch.
The scene now shifts back to Chicago’s United Center where thanks to a OT game winning goal by the captain Jonathan Toews the Hawks have put the Blues in a potential elimination position for the first time in this series.
All year long in the regular season and at time in the playoffs the Blackhawks have had a problem with closing and finishing games. So far this season there is no game bigger than Sunday’s matinee for the Hawks to finish strong and close out this hard fought series.
The Hawks can close out the Blues if they pay attention to detail and not make any mistakes especially in their own zone or the neutral zone. If mistakes are made teammates need to cov...
Anybody who counted the Blackhawks out after they went down 0-2 versus the St. Louis Blues in the opening round might be feeling a little silly right about now.
However, the Blackhawks still haven't played their best hockey. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, after each missing the final couple of weeks of the regular season with injuries, are rounding into form. The team as a whole has more gears.
The Blues are playing the kind of hockey that kept them at or near the top of the Central all season. In particular, Vladimir Tarasenko has been marvelous so far in the playoffs, averaging a goal per game, to lead the league for playoff goals.
Wipe the slate clean everything that has gone on in this tremendously well played series is now even. The series is now a best of three with each team having an equal chance to win the series or do they?
The Blackhawks definitely have the momentum thanks to Patrick Kane’s magic in OT in game 4 to pull the Hawks even in the series. There is a huge difference between having the series tied at two games apiece and being down three to one in the series. If the Hawks keep the momentum rolling in St. Louis they could skate away with a road win that they need to advance to the next round.
You have to think that with the Blues being up in games 2-0 like they were last year again...
We’re officially a week into the 2013/14 NHL playoffs and we’ve already seen our share of overtime dramatics, borderline hits, curious officiating, and Pierre McGuire. While every series has seen at least 3 games played, now is a good time to check in on what we’ve learned through week 1 of the dance and what we should expect over the next week.
Corey Crawford at the end of game 2 in St. Louis in his post game presser said he needed to be better and on this night he was a man of his word he was spectacular. In his first NHL playoff career shutout Crawford stopped 34 shots on the Hawks net. Corey Crawford won this game for the Hawks.
Besides Crawford being excellent in net the Hawks broke a bad habit as well, giving up goals late in games to push to overtime. On this night the Hawks not only did not give up the lead late the game actually ended in regulation time.
The scoring got started in the first period in what would have to be called a soft goal given up by Ryan Miller. Jonathan Toews shot the puck through Miller ...
Although it's been twelve years since they faced each other as playoff foes, the Blues and the Blackhawks are very familiar with one another as long-time division rivals since 1970. There is a hatred between these two teams that runs deep between the fan bases, and games between them are always snarling, hard-hitting affairs.
The St. Louis Blues had a rough ending to their regular season - becoming riddled with injuries, and going 3-7-0 in their last ten games. Their six-game losing streak to close out the season dropped them to second in the Central behind the Avalanche.
But by no means should the Blackhawks assume that their first-round opponent will be anything less than their trad...