Never count a defending champion out. The Blackhawks backs were against the wall a few days ago as they faced a 3-1 first-round series deficit, however like post seasons before the Blackhawks surged back to tie the series up and it all comes down to Game 7 tonight in St. Louis.
In my series preview I said the Blackhawks would win in six, but this series deserves a winner take all Game 7, it has been fantastic to watch. Is it just me or is there a pattern here? The start of every playoff series the Blackhawks play like shit and then once Game 5 hits, it’s like a whole new team.
The Hawks have an advantage with their Game 7s experience. The Hawks have played in four of them during the Quenneville era and have won two, including Game 7 of last season’s Western Conference finals against the Ducks in Anaheim, advantage Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks want to keep their hopes for another Stanley Cups alive (that would be four in seven years, not too shabby), while the Blues are desperately trying to end a three-year streak of being ousted in the first round. Blackhawks take Game 7, by a score of 3-2. Go Hawks!
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.
Folks, online the NHL playoffs are finally here; let the quest for the repeat begin. After an incredible, healing season, it’s time for our beloved Blackhawks to get down to business, and bring Lord Stanley back to Chicago once again. Let’s face it, Stanley likes to party in Chicago.
Yes, the Blackhawks had another exciting season going 46-21-15 and finishing third in the Central Division. However, as the saying goes, it isn’t how you start but how you finish. As we have seen many times before in the NHL playoffs, regular season records will get you good seeding in the playoffs, but do not guarantee a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals.
The Blackhawks are the third seed in the Central Conference and unfortunately don’t have first round home ice advantage; that goes to the Blues. Their first round opponent is the second seeded St. Louis Blues, who the Blackhawks went 2-1-2 versus during the regular season.
Continue on for the must know details and players of this first round matchup.
What You Need to Know:
The Blues lost their final six regular-season games. They were outscored 22-5 during that span, #woof. They had a seven-point lead on the Colorado Avalanche in the Central as of April 7. They wound up finishing second in the Central and many aren’t even taking the Blues as a threat.
St. Louis Blues
In the Blues defense they were without EVERYONE… David Backes, T.J. Oshie, Patrick Berglund, Barret Jackman, Brenden Morrow, Vladimir Tarasenko, Alex Pietrangelo and Vladimir Sobotka all sat out due to injuries in their regular-season finale. The Blues are expected to return some of their stars for Game 1 Backes, Oshie, Jackman, Pietrangelo and Sobotka are all listed as a go.
The Blackhawks will welcome back both Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane…Can you say YAHOO?! Both have been out due to injuries the last few weeks of the season. Kane has been skating for more than a week while Toews returned to skating on Thursday. The whole city of Chicago is excited for these two to be back.
Brian Bickell & Andrew Shaw
When everyone is out there, the Blackhawks are loaded. Toews and MarianHossa are as good as they come in terms of two-way forward play. PatrickSharp had one of the best seasons of his career. And you know guys like AndrewShaw and Bryan Bickell will score big goals at some point in this postseason.
Blues goaltender Ryan Miller has lost his last five starts. He had a 3.60 goals-against average and stopped 107 of 125 shots for a .856 save percentage in that span. He was on fire when he was first traded to the Blues from the Sabres. Blues fans are hoping he returns to prime form.
We all know the story… Goaltender gets hot and grows bigger in his net. Once a team gains energy, it can tilt the ice against their rival and skate to the crapper. Corey Crawford had a solid season going 32-16-10. His goals-against average was an impressive 2.26. If Crawford can get in the zone early. He is one of the hardest goalies to beat in the league.
Key Players to Watch on the Blues:
Center; David Backes: Backes has been missed by the Blues. He is a dominating force on the ice. Frankly, no Hawks fan can stand Backes. You hate playing him, but would love to have him on your team. He is a big defensive-forward and he makes his presence known with some serious hits. Note to our guys… Keep your head up when Backes is on the ice.
Right Winger; T.J. Oshie: The Sochi Olympic sweetheart is
another Blues player that has been bitten by the injury bug. He is listed as day-to-day. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock is confident that Oshie will play in game 1. The Blues are better with Oshie on the ice. This season he had 21 goals and 39 assists. He is one of the most skilled right wingers in the league. He can create space and make a shot happen when you think there isn’t one. Look for the Blackhawks to try and get Oshie off balance with Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook.
Left Winger; Jaden Schwartz: One of the many reasons the Blues were so lethal when they were healthy was the depth of their offensive ability. The upsurge of JadenSchwartz as rapid scoring threat off the wing gave them a element they did not have in last spring’s first-round exit against the Los Angeles Kings. Schwartz must continue his strong sophomore play against the Blackhawks. If he can, he is going to be one you need to watch in this series.
Key Players to Watch on the Blackhawks:
Left Winger; Patrick Sharp: We have come to expect the clutch performances from Patrick Sharp; he has once again proved how valuable he is. He led the team with 34 goals during the regular season, including 10 power-play markers, and 78 points. His play elevated down the stretch when Kane and Toews went down. Look for Sharpie to elevate his game this series and be a one not to miss on the ice.
Defenseman; Duncan Keith:
Keith is having another fantastic year. He is once again in the conversations for Norris Trophy winner (best defenseman) and he should be. Six goals, 55 assists and a +22. Keith is crucial to the Hawks repeating. There is no better assist man in the league and he is dangerous when he has the puck. The Blues need to be worried if Keith gets hot.
Right Winger; Patrick Kane: We can finally say that Kaner is back! Kaner, one of the two franchise forwards is integral to getting past the Blues. We all know the Hawks have depth, however when Kaner went down. The Hawks defiantly were in a funk. Kane loves the big games and series, weather the NHL Playoffs or Olympics. If he finds his grove, the Blues better watch out.
First Round Schedule:
Game 1: Thursday, 7 p.m.; Blackhawks at Blues (CSN)
Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m.; Blackhawks at Blues (NBC)
Game 3: Monday, April 21, 7:30 p.m.; Blues at Blackhawks (CSN)
Game 4: Wednesday, April 23, 8:30 p.m.; Blues at Blackhawks (CSN)
Game 5 (if necessary): Friday, April 25, 7 p.m.; Blackhawks at Blues (CSN)
Game 6 (if necessary): Sunday, April 27, 2 p.m.; Blues at Blackhawks (NBC)
Game 7 (if necessary): Tuesday, April 29, TBD; Blackhawks at Blues (CSN)
Get ready for playoff beards to pop up all over our city and the Blackhawks bandwagon to get very crowded once again. It’s time for the Hawks to put together another magical Stanley Cup run just like last season.
The injury situation makes predicting this series difficult. On paper the Blackhawks have the upper hand versus the Blues who are coming into the playoffs with a mental block. However, playoff hockey goes to another level, and if there is anything to get a team out of their funk it is a chance at hoisting Stanley. This series is going to be a good one; I mean a knock down drag out one. Full of physical battles left and right. I predict the Blackhawks will win this series in seven games. Let’s get rowdy again Chicago… because it’s the Cup! Go Hawks!
The Blackhawks (39-15-15) return to home ice tonight after losing last night 3-2 in OT versus the Flyers. The Blackhawks played tough and physical and made big plays, sick but they still couldn’t pull off the W. However, ambulance all of that needs to be forgotten as the Blackhawks look to figure out the St. Louis Blues (47-14-7) after three one-goal losses against their Central Division rivals.
I know everyone’s focus has shifted to their brackets and the madness begins tonight. However, viagra top it off with some original black and blue hockey. You won’t want to miss this one.
What You Need to Know:
Since the Olympic break the Blackhawks have gone 4-5. Not great. but not awful. Yes, the Blackhawks are still in third place in the conference looking up at St. Louis and Colorado. Who just can’t seem to lose these days. However, no one should push the panic button. This team is built for the long haul. The team with the most points heading into the playoffs rarely wins the cup. In my opinion sitting third in the conference and fifth in the division is fine with me.
This is the third meeting between the Hawks and Blues and unfortunately the Hawks haven’t won a game versus the Blues this year and this is starting to become more of a rivalry and that makes us all winners. The Blues have won three in a row overall and are on a nine-game points streak.
Who to Watch For: The Blues
TJ Oshie: We all remember and fell in love with this former HAM during the Olympics. Oshie leads them with 17 goals and 37 assists. The right winger is big and powerful and hasn’t made it easy on Hawks defenders. Oshie is a big reason the Blues have 101 points and are considered one of the best teams in the league. Look for Coach Q to stick super defenseman duo Ducan Keith and Brent Seabrook on Oshie.
Ryan Miller: Miller was acquired by the Blues in the trade deadline and has found his Vezina (he won the top goalie award in 2010) stride. Since the trade he is 7-0-1 with a goals against average of 1.61. He is a huge reason the Blues are peaking at the right moment. The Blackhawks are going to have to fight for every goal tonight. Miller doesn’t give them up often.
Who to Watch For: The Blackhawks
Marian Hossa: Hossa came back from another injury on Sunday versus Detroit and made an instant impact. His impact was present last night versus the Flyers netting one assist. Hoss is due for a hot streak. I think he will log more ice time tonight and look for him to continue to shoot the puck on net. In a game like this “garbage” goals could determine the outcome.
Corey Crawford: When your opposing goalie has a hot streak going you need to bring your “A” game. Crawford has always performed well under fire. With all the talk surrounding Miller and his play, look for Crow to rise to the occasion.
Your Take Away Piece:
“It’s a BIG game folks. It will be a tough and physical game. The Hawks need to come out and score first and engage the home ice crowd. If the Hawks can keep the Blues playing on their heels. As well as bombard Miller with tons of shots the Hawks can finally win one against the Blues this year.”
The puck drops at 8:00pm on NBC Sports Network. Head to your local watering hole to watch the early March Madness bracket games and stay for the game. Or head to the United Center tickets are still available HERE. Either way it’s a great Wednesday night sports night in Chicago. GO Hawks.
Long time no talk, prostate Divas! Did you miss me? Well, I sure missed you, and is it just me or is this hockey season a bit off to a slow start?
Not the Blackhawks who are posting a 4-1-1 record, but the length of time between games. Maybe we were spoiled with the back-to-back-to-back schedule crunch of last season, however, this hockey nut will take Blackhawk hockey whenever possible and will definitely endure the wait.
Enough of my rant…on to the matchup ahead.
On Thursday the Blackhawks host the St. Louis Blues for their second of five regular season matchups this season. The Blues are the only loss the Hawks have this year, and if you watched the first game you know that these two teams don’t like one another and it is looking a lot like Black and Blue hockey is back in the Central Conference.
Let’s get you prepared to show up loaded to the United Center or your local watering hole to impress the best of the best for what’s sure to be a ridiculous game.
What You Need To Know
The Hawks currently sit in 2nd place in the central conference with 9pts (4-1-1). Right on their heels are the Blues in 3rd with 8pts (4-1-0).
The San Jose Sharks gave the Blues their first loss of the season, giving them a shellacking and handing them a 6-2 ass whooping. Jaroslav Halak also suffered his first defeat of the season, stopping 22 shots and was replaced by Brian Elliott to start the third period. It was Elliott’s first action of the season. It will be interesting to see who Coach Ken Hitchcock will start in the net tonight.
Oh the Power Play… Haven’t seen much of you this season, the Hawks need to figure this out and need to figure it out soon. I know it is early in the season but a non-existing power play won’t cut it this year.
We saw these two teams jaw, jab, etc. last time they met. Expect the same and more, the Hawks have home ice advantage and will work the crowd to upset the flow of the Blues.
Who To Watch For On The Blues:
Left Winger Alexander Steen has been on fire for the Blues this season so far and leads the team in goals and points with 8. The 29-year old from Winnipeg Manitoba was drafted in the 2002 NHL draft by Toronto. However, he has found a home in St. Louis and consistently puts up great offense numbers season after season. The Hawks will look to Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook to shut Steen down, and turn the puck over. Steen currently has a -3 rating, so look for our defense to try and bring out is lack of defensive play.
Who to Watch For On The Hawks:
Recent call up forward Brandon Pirri: Pirri, a 2009 second-round pick by the Blackhawks, suffered an injury during training camp and was among coach JoelQuenneville’s final roster cuts last month. Pirri has three assists in three games with the IceHogs this season. He is looking to prove he belongs in the show on the Blackhawks roster full time. Keep an eye on him!
Defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson: Hammer has been the best defenseman on the ice for the Blackhawks this season. He leads the entire team with four assists and has a +4 rating. Look for Hammer to not only shut down the Blues offense but contribute on the offensive attack for the Blackhawks.
Your Take Away Piece
“If the rivalry doesn’t get you up for this game, then you are not a hockey fan. The Blues are the only team to hand our beloved Hawks a loss this season, look for the guys to come out “swinging” and to pay back the Blues for last time.”
Retro Brand, Clark Street Sports: $29.99
If you’re planning on heading to the United Center, tickets are still available. Find the best deals HERE. If you can’t quite shell out the cash to watch the Hawks live, hit up your local watering hole in your cutest Hawks gear. Its Thursday (we all know the start of the weekend), its fall and its Blackhawks hockey, enough said!
You can catch the 7:00 p.m. puck drop on Comcast SportsNet. Let’s go Hawks!
The weekend is almost here Sports Divas, medical and with sunny skies and temps reaching for 60 degrees today, there’s only one thing to do tonight in Chicago…hone your Happy Hour skills by heading out to cheer on the Blackhawks! The Blackhawks kick off the start to another incredible sports weekend with a Central Division showdown tonight at the Madhouse against the St. Louis Blues.
It’s a jam packed spring sports weekend – between the Final 4 games Saturday (GO BLUE!), baseball back, the Bulls, the Blackhawks, and dare I say it…the heat wave coming – this girl is ready! Sports bars are the only place to be this weekend! Grab your wingman and head out early to get a solid seat, and as always – don’t be “that” girl – be prepared. Read on for the must-know details for tonight’s match-up.
What You Need to Know:
Tonight’s matchup is against two of the best teams in the Central Division. The (18-14-2) St. Louis Blues are currently sitting in final spot for the playoffs. Every game counts for the Blues if they want to make the post season.
This is the third meeting this season between the two power houses and the Hawks are 2-0 on the Blues. In their last matchup on February 28th in St. Louis, the Hawks won 3-0. The Hawks have easily man-handled the Blues both times this season
Michal Handzus, the new Hawk on the block makes his debut tonight. The Blackhawks acquired the 36-year old Slovokian center from the San Jose Sharks on Monday to add some depth to the center position.
The Blues have lost their last 3 out of 4 games and need to get on a winning streak in order to stay in the playoff hunt.
Brandon Saadhas three goals over the last two games and even though he is a rookie and only 20 he is playing mature, amazing hockey
Marian Hossa will be back in the lineup tonight after missing the past few games with an upper body injury. Patrick Sharp is still out with his shoulder injury. However Coach Q said he is “close to returning”
Who to Watch for on the Blues: Right Winger Chris Stewart, he leads the Blues in points (29) and goals (15). The big body winger is red hot these days, recording multiple points in the past few games. Look for the Blackhawks to throw everything at him to stop the hot winger
YOUR TAKE AWAY PIECE:
“This is a great opportunity for the Blackhawks to continue their dominance over the Blues. With the season coming to an end in three weeks, the Hawks need to start polishing up their playoff play as we all anxiously await the run at Lords Stanley’s Cup.”
Puck drops tonight at 7:30PM at the Madhouse. Tickets are still available and start at around $90. After tonight, the Blackhawks are back at it on Saturday afternoon when they head to Nashville to take on Central Division rivals the Predators for the 2nd time this week before seeing the Predators AGAIN on Sunday at the Madhouse.