9:30 HP Pavilion, San Jose, CA
Radio: 720 AM WGN
Tonight is the final regular season game between the Blackhawks and the San Jose Sharks. The Blackhawks have won 2 out of the 3 meetings this season. We all know about the Hawks struggles but the Sharks have not exactly been setting the world on fire either as of late. They have lost 5 out of their last 8 games. Their recent struggles have allowed the Los Angeles Kings to pull within 2 points of the Pacific Division leaders.
Antti Niemi will start for the Sharks in goal tonight. This will give many Blackhawks fans, myself included, another chance to pine about what could have been if Niemi would have stayed in Chicago. I would much rather have Niemi than Cory Crawford, Ray Emery and Niklas Hjalmarrson. As they say hind sight is always 20/20. The Hawks are going to have to watch out for Joe Thornton tonight. He is red hot with 3 goals and 5 assists in his last 4 games. Dave Bolland is going to need to be a shut down, pain in the ass defensive player tonight if the Hawks want to win. I am sure Bolland’s line will be out there against Jumbo Joe as much as possible. Martin Havlat will miss tonight’s game due to hamstring surgery he had back in December. Havlat missing games due to injury? That’s unheard of!
I don’t need to go over the Blackhawks struggles any more. They need to win tonight for many reasons, but mostly so I don’t have to keep writing about why they have been bad lately. Cory Crawford will get the start for the Blackhawks tonight. He was really good the last time in San Jose. He was the tough luck loser in a 1-0 battle of goalies on Nov 23rd. Crow’s defense in front of him might be a bigger mess than usual tonight. Steve Montador was placed on injured reserve today. Dylan Olsen has been recalled from Rockford to take Montador’s roster spot. Olsen is expected to play but has yet to arrive in San Jose as I type this, so who know’s what the pairings will look like tonight. Hopefully Patrick Sharp can keep up his good play since returning from injury. I am interesting in seeing if Patrick Kane will continue to have an itchy trigger finger like he did Tuesday in Denver. Please, for the love of money, win tonight Blackhawks! I don’t want to spend another weekend writing gloom and doom stories. Plus, it wouldn’t hurt to pick up some points either!