Game #1- Detroit Red Wings vs Chicago Blackhawks
Game Time- 7pm Central
Season Series- Blackhawks 4-0 Red Wings 0-1-3 Except for Easter Sunday every game went to overtime with the Hawks prevailing in each game.
Preview- The Red Wings were able to survive and advance against the team most experts had pegged to beat the Hawks in the Western Conference Finals in the Anaheim Ducks. The Red Wings have been able to survive a suspect defense and injuries to sneak into the playoffs then win a playoff series. Now they get to face a team that has won seven straight against them but these Red Wings are confident that the way they played in the last 10 games and add in the Anaheim series will be a big enough improvement in the Red Wings play to turn the tide in favor of the men from Motown. Jimmy Howard wasn’t spectacular against Anaheim but he was good enough to keep the Ducks at bay to get four games into overtime which the Red Wings were able to score the deciding goal in three of them. It’s hard to say if them getting the extra day off will help give them some rest or hurt because it cools their momentum. The Red Wings still ride Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg but look for the Hawks to focus on Damien Brunner and not allow a good secondary scorer to get off early in the series.
The Blackhawks made pretty quick work of the injury riddled Minnesota Wild and now get their oldest rival. The Hawks for years looked at Detroit as big brother and could never get past them while they were winning Cups and making Finals appearances. The times have changed and now the Hawks are the favorites and they need to show that right out of the box in Game #1. Coach Quenneville noticed what most fans saw in the Wild series which was a lack of fire and passion and has kicked it up a notch in practice starting with the white shirting of Brandon Saad for a day and Viktor Stalberg for the whole week. This is the playoffs and the Hawks will need to play with some desperation while sticking to their game of puck possession. The Hawks have had extra time off to heal and rest which provided enough time for Dave Bolland and Ray Emery to make it back into the lineup. Now it’s up to Coach Q to blend them all in and start off the series on the right foot. Corey Crawford outside of one overtime goal was great and will need to continue his stellar play against the Red Wings.
Prediction- The Hawks spirited practices will lead to a focused group that comes out in a tight game on the right side of a 3-1 victory.
What is your prediction for Game 1?
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Tags: Stanley Cup Playoffs