Keys to the Series

Because of the unusually long break between the final regular season game and the first playoff game, we’ve all had a long time to digest the “ins and outs” of the Blackhawks’ first round match-up.  With that said, we’d like to present our keys to the series.  Some of which you may have already seen elsewhere; some you may have not.

– Of course, goaltending can’t wet the bed.  Hawks goalies cannot be charitable to a team that historically has had a difficult time scoring goals.  All in all, Antti Niemi has looked superb down the stretch, and I’d be surprised to see anything different from him.

– In that vein, Jason Arnott has traditionally performed like a big time player in big time situations for the Preds.  It would be nice to limit his offensive contributions, as he can be a catalyst for the club.

– Keep the Predators special teams mediocre.  The Hawks have to keep the good times rolling on the power play and not allow Nashville to score more than 4 times throughout the series with a man advantage.  Nashville doesn’t take a whole bunch of penalties and when they do, the Hawks have to make them pay.  Also, a couple short-handed goals from the Hawks would be lovely.  

– The Toews’ line must dominate.  All signs point to Shea Weber and Ryan Suter being matched up against Bolland’s line.  That means the Hawks top line must take advantage of Hamhuis and Franson.  In addition, Bolland’s line can’t get stomped by whichever line is matched up against them.  Otherwise, bad things gonna happen.

– It would be nice to get continued contribution from the Hawks’ fourth line.  With a fourth line that includes Joel Ward and David Legwand, the Preds are nothing if not particularly deep, and you can count on them getting contributions from their bottom six at some point.

– There should probably be a Kris Versteeg sighting.  As the Preds will attempt to get their match-ups against the Toews and Bolland lines, that should free up the John Madden line to get chances.  Though it hasn’t worked out particularly well yet, the line that includes Versteeg and Ladd may be counted on to produce, and we’d all agree Versteeg is in the best position to do so.

– Keep home ice advantage.  For those of you who become nauseous at the thought of Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I love It,” you’ll know that Nashville – of all places – can be a difficult place to play.  Make sure game six isn’t a must-win.

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Game Preview. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Keys to the Series

  1. Dave Morris says:

    Great blog, gentlemen.

    The esteemed Troy Murray shares his perspectives on the Hawks’ current success, their aspirations, and the forthcoming series against the Preds here:
    http://hockeyindependent.com/blog/david-morris/14338/

    Troy was very generous with his time and insights, as well as recollections of his own career.

    I hope everyone enjoys this interview, and I welcome your comments.

    Here’s to tonight.

  2. Patrick says:

    Dave – good work, brother.

    Let it begin…

  3. Big Tony says:

    Nice “effort” tonight. 2 incredibly garbage goals give Nashville game 1.

    These boys had better wake their asses up in a hurry.

  4. Lou says:

    I am still trying to figure out what Brouwer was thinking

    Too much stickhandling might be the understatement of the week

  5. Dave Morris says:

    @Patrick>thanks.

    It was illuminating to hear Troy Murray’s comments on WGN Radio after the game…he talked about the very same things he pointed out in the interview.

    Patience…and not getting frustrated by the opponent.

    The Hawks were clearly frustrated by Nashville’s execution of a very sound defensive strategy, and the Preds’ opportunism.

    Chicago played well for the most part, but those few ‘moments’ were the difference. And a grizzled ex-Hawk named Jean-Pierre who knows that.

    ‘Playoff ugly’ is what you might call it.

    As the saying goes, this one’s done, learn from it, get ready for Sunday.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s