The Blackhawks have been a well oiled machine for most of the 2013 shortened season and excluding 3 games against Detroit the playoffs as well. Still there are players wearing the Blackhawks sweater that have to step up in the upcoming Stanley Cup Final. Here is a list of three Hawks that need to bring it come Wednesday night when the puck drops for Game #1.
1. Andrew Shaw- Shaw’s stat line going into the finals- 4 goals 3 assists +/- 0 Penalty minutes-26
Hopefully Shaw has learned his lessons of the 2012 Phoenix Coyotes series and Detroit 2013 series that there is a line that you cannot cross and in the end you can hurt your team with reckless play. Shaw is a total instigator that oh by the way led the team in hits during the Los Angeles Kings series. Shaw can create havoc and opportunities for the Blackhawks and in the Finals he needs to find the line where the refs are going to call the action and not cross it. Yes Shaw is a third line center but in a series where both teams are extremely deep he has to bring his A game on the right side of the line.
2. Viktor Stalberg- Stalberg’s stat line going into the finals- 0 goals 3 assists +/- – 3 6 penalty minutes
Stalberg missed the beginning of the Detroit series and hasn’t seemed to been able to find his groove since. In a series that should be extremely tight just like the last two series the elite speed of Stalberg could be a difference maker. Stalberg and Bryan Bickell were line mates for most of the season but have taken totally different paths since the playoffs started against the Minnesota Wild. Players have been able to overcome three terrible series leading up to the Finals only to have history write stories about them. Stalberg needs to use his speed and find a shot to become effective again for Coach Quenneville (who may bench Stalberg in favor of Brandon Bollig in Game #1) and the Hawks going into Wednesday nights Game #1.
3. David Bolland- Bolland’s stat line going into the finals – 0 goals 1 assists +/- -1 16 penalty minutes
Bolland has been a ghost of himself for most of the playoffs. Even when Bolland has been mediocre during the regular season he has been a playoff gamer and now after 17 playoff games in 2013 that title is slowly leaving Bolland. If you are a glass half full person then you have to be kind of happy of what we saw out of the Rat in Game 5 against the Kings where he looked like his game could be turning the corner and with the Finals on the horizon it could be happening at just the right time. The Bruins play all four lines so Bolland and his line of penalty killers needs to be at their best for the Finals. Bolland can be a difference maker or a ghost so hopefully he scares the Boston Bruins and not the Hawks faithful Wednesday night!
What Blackhawks players do you think need to step up?
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