In what is possibly the last Blackhawks’ road game of the season, there should be a few interesting developments to watch for.
As my partner said in the Game 3 recap, Joel Quenneville should make the league offices aware of Chris Pronger’s propensity for doing illegal stuff. And it appears he’s done just that. In the next couple games, Pronger will probably get sent off for multiple infractions. It will be up to the Hawks to capitalize on said opportunities. Knowing the league, they’ll give them one game where they keep the play tight and after that, they’ll say tough luck. So, might as well score when the gap-toothed monkey is sitting in the box.
It’s really a shame that hockey writers aren’t as fickle as baseball writers when it comes to voting for the Hall-of-Fame because nothing would make me happier than to see Pronger sweat out his turn. His press conferences have been Exhibit A, B, and C of what an unlikeable buffoon he is. He went in after Game 3 and called the media ‘a bunch of clowns’. This was after his team just won their biggest game of the season.
In between Game’s 1 and 2, he was just a brash, crude animal. And instead of calling him out for it, some of the media commended him for his comedy. Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t see anything funny about bullying a bunch of grown men.
Something else to watch for: So far, this series has reminded me so much of last year’s Western Conference Quarterfinals against the Calgary Flames. The Hawks won the first two games at home even though they didn’t play all that hot. They went to Calgary and actually played better, save for a 8 minute stretch in Game 4, and lost. Then proceeded to beat the stuffing out of the Flames in the final two games.
This series may mirror that one. Once the Hawks figure out a way to handle the Flyers attack, it could get very ugly. They could start by not treating the puck like a hand grenade in their own end. Their wingers have, uncharacteristically, blindly fired the puck to the Flyers points, moreso in this series than they have all season.
And once they realize they have way more time then they think, Philadelphia won’t be able to lay claim to the dominant third periods they’ve sported the last two games. Because once those second, third, and fourth opportunities start to diminish, they’re going to go bye-bye.