Would we want it any other way?
The Blackhawks will start their repeat dreams and open the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the St. Louis Blues tomorrow night at 8:30pm at the Scottrade Center.
This will be one of the most fascinating series of the first round that will guarantee a legitimate cup contender is going home early. These two teams are the big dogs in the central division. They hate each other and that makes it even more exciting to watch.
The Hawks and Blues met five times this season. Chicago won two games in the five-game season series, but recorded a point in every game as St. Louis’ three wins came in overtime.
The last time these two met in the playoffs was the 2014 series and come on who could forget that! Big hits, overtime wins and tons of trash talk, I can smell it already!
As we examine this series a bit more we can’t help but look at the Blackhawks playoff experience it is one of their biggest advantages. They have played a lot of bonus hockey the last few years and with the core group of Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Keith (will miss game 1, he is still serving his six game suspension) and Crawford their experiences is a huge advantage here.
Home-ice in this series is not going to be that big of a deal. The Blackhawks travel extremely well, and St. Louis is literally a hop, skip and a jump away. No advantage here. The Blues edge is that they are big as F*, their physical play and size are apparent in the teams previous meetings; the Blues have the edge on the offensive and defensive side of the puck. Hopefully, they won’t play dirty and try and take any of our guys out. Who can forget the hit David Backes took on Brent Seabrook in the 2014 series.
Two players that you need to know in this series are.
Vladimir Tarasenko: Tarasenko has played very well against the Blackhawks this year. In the five games these teams played he scored five goals, not too shabby. He is also becoming a playoff animal for the Blues. He netted 10 goals in his last 12 playoff games, and in just five games in April he netted four goals. Needless to say the Blackhawks top defensive pairing are going to have their hands full with Tarasenko. He is just getting started. If the Blues have a chance, he needs to continue his hot streak for the club in the postseason.
Patrick Kane: Where should I start?! Kane comes into the postseason even hotter than Tarasenko, with seven goals in his last five games. Kane is going to win the Hart Trophy for regular season MVP, it’s locked down. Kane won’t slow down; look for big things from his line with Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin. Yeah, try not to confuse them either!
The schedule for this season series (All times are Central): So you don’t miss a moment of the action
Game 1: Wednesday 8:30 p.m. @Scottrade Center
Game 2: Friday 7 p.m. @ Scottrade Center
Game 3: Sunday 2 p.m. @United Center
Game 4: Tuesday 4/19 8:30 p.m. @United Center
Game 5: Thursday 4/21 TBD @Scottrade Center
Game 6: Saturday 4/23 TBD @United Center
Game 7: Monday 4/25 TBD @Scottrade Center
It’s almost been two decades since the NHL last had a repeat champion. This is going to be a phenomenal series. The hardest thing to do in the playoffs is eliminate a champion that just knows how to win in the postseason. The Blues won’t pull it off. Blackhawks in 6.