Up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals, six wins away from a Stanley Cup and riding an NHL record-tying 7-game playoff road winning streak, the Blackhawks are doing everything possible to forget their 3-3 home-ice “disadvantage.”
Though former Cup champion John Madden hoped for an entire night away from home — like the New Jersey Devils used to do before home games — the ‘Hawks will check into a hotel Friday after the morning skate to relieve themselves of familiar surroundings. Straying from the old adage, home hasn’t been where the heart is for the Blackhawks this playoff campaign.
As Forklift from HOCKEENIGHT.com pointed out, the ‘Hawks are “due for a stinker.” More profound in making Fork look like a genius, the Blackhawks’ shitting of the bed these playoffs have come on the UC ice. Much ado about nothing? Or is this the opportunity the San Jose Sharks need to get back into this series?
Not discounting the previous Chicago lapses at the UC this post-season, the deciding factor won’t have anything to do with which color sweaters are predominant in the crowd. Bottom line, the Sharks are frustrated — no matter how much Joe Thornton wants to deny it. Here’s what Jumbo “I Disappear When It REALLY Counts” Joe had to say about Dave Bolland:
I don’t find him very irritating. I find him very easy to play against, to be honest with you. I’m a pretty big guy and he’s a little guy, so I don’t find it too difficult at all.
Right. That’s why you felt the need for a blatant, uncalled-for slash on Bolland late in the game, eh Joe? The Blackhawks have their foot on the gas pedal and are showing no signs of letting off. I’m not guaranteeing a Game 3 victory for the ‘Hawks, but whether the rest of this series is played at the UC, the Shark Tank or a gigantic rink the likes of Mystery Alaska, the Blackhawks are going to win this series. A team as even-keeled as San Jose has been throughout the season, to be this frustrated is detrimental to its chances to come back. I don’t see it happening. The ‘Hawks may not take a 3-0 lead tonight, but this series will still be in their control come Sunday no matter how you look at it.
You better believe QStache will have the Bolland line against the Thornton line as much as possible for the rest of this series, and you aught to know by now Jonathan Toews will put himself on the score sheet however he needs to in order to help the ‘Hawks win. Nothing should change in Game 3.
Watching NHL on the Fly last night, it seems as if the media is doing a hell of job frustrating Dan Boyle. The guy can’t dodge the questions of the Sharks previous playoff failures, and he’s finally having enough of it. Hopefully he comes out trying to do too much, which will lead to mistakes on both ends of the ice. Granted, that’s wishful thinking. But hey, nothing is beyond the realm of possibility.
Mainly, the ‘Hawks need to continue playing well in front of Antti Niemi while limiting the Sharks’ chances in front of the net on rebounds. The Sharks still haven’t been able to put a body in front of the net to create traffic. Let that trend continue.
Patrick Marleau played a hell of a Game 2 attempting to keep San Jose in it. Unfortunately for the Sharks, Dany Heatley isn’t playing like himself. Obviously, Heatley is a great hockey player. He may want to start proving that soon if San Jose wants to make this a series.
Puck drop is 7 p.m. from the United Center. I’ll be in Section 326, Row 12, Seat 11 at the UC waiting for you to come buy me a beer.