14 Games Left
With 14 games left, your Chicago Blackhawks currently sit at 36-25-7 79 points, and the 6th seed of the Western Conference. Only 5 points seperate them from playoff hockey and the golf course. Lets assume that 97 points gets you into the post season, The Hawks will have to come up with 18 more points in 14 games. 9-5, 8-3-2, 7-2-4, which all look possible,should get the Hawks into the fight for the Stanley Cup.
The Remaining Schedule
8 home games are left- Rangers,Kings, Blues,Capitals,Canucks,Predators,Blues,Wild
6 road games remain-Stars,Devils,Blue Jackets,Predators, Wild, Red Wings
With the current standings 9 of the games are against teams that would be in the playoffs if they started today. 2 are against teams fighting on the playoff bubble, 2 are against the Minnesota Wild which are beginning to sink further from playoff contention, and one is the only guarantee win of the bunch at Columbus!
Excluding the current 2-1 road trip, the Hawks have been pretty awful on the road going 3-13 before the current trip. If they were to get 5 points out of the 6 games they would need to get 13 out of 16 points in the United Center. All of this seems very capable if Mr. Towes were playing!! He did skate for the first time since his injury so this is encouraging, but doesn’t guarantee anything.
So by looking at the remaining schedule to me it is very clear that defending home ice will be the key to a playoff run success! You can look at every player on the roster and say that its important for them to step up at this time of year for the Hawks to reach their next goal, which is the playoffs, but there are 2 players that I believe must take their huge talents and put this team on their backs for the next 14 games.
Patrick Kane is player #1! Maybe it was the ridiculous Ryan Miller trade rumors or just a mid-season slump, but the last 3-4 games Kaner has been playing his best hockey of the season. Kane has had 3 goals in the last 4 games. The Hawks offense without Towes needs Kane to be more aggressive getting pucks to the net, and in the net. He has been a man possessed the past week, and it needs to continue for 14 more games
Secondly, Marian Hossa needs to bring his A game the rest of the way!! He’s second in goals on the team with 27 and tied for first in assists with 37. He can single-handily control the offensive side of the ice. During the 9 game losing streak he seemed to have dissappeared, but this past two weeks he’s been back and his scoring and puck control will be needed for the final push
Who is going to step up in between the pipes for the final sprint? Ray Emery had a very nice week before giving up 5 in St. Louis. Is Emery going to be consistent? Will Coach Q have enough confidence in him to ride it out the rest of the season? The Hawks don’t need spectacular, they just need consistency and someone stopping all the shots that should be stopped. Is it too late this season for Corey Crawford to get hot, or has his major backslide season gotten into his head far enough that he’s as useless as Huet? Emery gets the start against NY, so at least he didn’t get the big hook after one outing where nobody wearing white showed up. It’s getting to be that time of the year where one of these goalies has to become the MAN in net!
The finish line is in site! It begins with the NY Rangers and a must home ice win at the United Center Friday night!! Approximately 18 more points are needed and any two at home are a must not a want!!!
LET’S GO HAWKS!!!!