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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

Welcome to the Neno's Place!

Neno's Place Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality


Neno

I can be reached by phone or text 8am-7pm cst 972-768-9772 or, once joining the board I can be reached by a (PM) Private Message.

Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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Established in 2006 as a Community of Reality

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    Chicago Blackhawks

    jedi17
    jedi17
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    Posts : 10738
    Join date : 2013-02-20

      Chicago Blackhawks Empty Chicago Blackhawks

    Post by jedi17 Sun 09 Apr 2017, 7:09 pm


    Looking at the first round
    April 9, 2017, 9:13 AM ET [53 Comments]
    John Jaeckel
    Chicago Blackhawks Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT




    Yesterday afternoon/evening in LA, the Blackhawks snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their last regular season game.

    For the Hawks it had to be a little disappointing. For the Kings, it was a great way to send off veteran broadcaster Bob Miller into retirement. Sometimes, things just have a way of working out, and so be it.

    Because the Hawks get to keep playing, with a realistic shot at a very long Cup run again this year, and the Kings don’t.

    I saw one thing in yesterday’s game that I found very encouraging for Chicago, and that was the play of the new third line: Ryan Hartman, Marcus Kruger and Marian Hossa. Deployed often against the Anze Kopitar line, the Kruger line was utterly dominant in possession, and the kind of possession you need to win in the playoffs—in the offensive zone.

    If you can keep one of your opponent’s better offensive lines mired in their own end all night, your chances of winning skyrocket. And for all the abuse Kruger takes from a segment of the Chicago fanbase, he was the guy who drove the lines that did this in the Hawks’ 2013 and 2015 (especially) Stanley Cups.

    And this is bad news for the Nashville Predators, the Hawks’ first round playoff opponent. The Preds were already facing an uphill battle versus Chicago, on paper anyway. The Hawks went 4-1 in the regular season versus Nashville, and were better statistically in most areas over the season series.

    But an analysis of those games, and when they took place, tells a slightly different story. The Preds basically made hay versus the Hawks in their first meeting of the year, a Nashville win in October. After that, it was pretty much all Chicago.

    One area where the Preds have been consistently better than the Hawks all season is their power play. Thus the Hawks will need to be the smart agitators (not the agitated), move their feet and avoid lazy stick penalties against a Nashville team with good energy and speed—and get the kind of goaltending they’ve gotten versus Nashville all year (another big statistical advantage for Chicago in the season series). Nashville caught the Hawks’ flat-footed in round 1 in 2015, chased Corey Crawford and almost upset the heavily favored Hawks. The Hawks need to come ready to play form the opening horn of Game 1.

    In my opinion, this team doesn’t have quite the depth, youth or margin for error and rebound capacity that past years’ Hawk clubs have had.

    The Hawks will also a need a healthy and ready Artem Anisimov. By all accounts, that is very likely.

    Thus the top 3 lines appear set:

    Schmaltz-Toews-Panik
    Panarin-Anisimov-Kane
    Hartman-Kruger-Hossa

    The fourth line is going to be some kind of amalgam of Dennis Rasmussen, Tanner Kero, Jordin Tootoo, Andrew Desjardins and/or John Hayden, depending on the matchup and who’s clicking.

    The Preds are deep and good on their blueline. Another thing I would expect is a lot more finished checks from the likes of Hartman and Panik (especially) on Nashville defenders.

    Could Kero supplant Kruger between Hartman and Hossa, where he played earlier in the year? Ehhh, yeah, but Kero is not the defender or disruptor Kruger is, and that line has been the Hawks’ best the last handful of games. And I don’t see Joel Quenneville altering a line that will plausibly be a possession, forechecking, defending and even scoring weapon in the playoffs.

    I see Round 1 as a 5 or 6 game Chicago advance. Take Anaheim in 6.

    In the other Western series, I see the potential for upset in both.

    Edmonton likely has a tougher go versus the playoff tested Sharks. Take San Jose there. But I think the Blues (7-1-2 in their last ten) will knock off the Wild.

    In the East, the Bruins, with their experience, could challenge the Caps, but I like the Caps in 6 or 7. I’ll take the Sens over the Leafs, largely because I think Craig Anderson is a better playoff goaltender than Freddie Andersen.

    New York/Montreal is hard to call but the Habs have played better of late. Habs.

    Finally, with Olli Maatta questionable/doubtful to start the playoffs, and Kris Letang out, the stage is set for a Columbus upset of Pittsburgh. Is it likely? No. The Jackets will need to adjust their psychology to that of a playoff winner—where forward and quiet team leader Brandon Saad can set the tone. But for all the Penguins' firepower, it is the Jackets who can dictate the series with their underrated offensive depth and Sergei Bobrovsky between the pipes. CBJ in 7.

    I’ll be back with more early in the week.

      Current date/time is Sun 26 May 2024, 7:23 pm