Actually, I’m not so sure the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t already in panic mode. Well, they SHOULD be in panic mode, if they want to even the series at 2-2, tonight in Boston. The Boston Bruins, on the other hand, are feeling nice and cozy with a 2-1 lead in the series, with a chance at putting the Hawks on the brink of elimination, tonight, in Boston.
The Blackhawks got through the playoffs due to their depth, and superb goaltending from Corey Crawford. Throughout the playoffs, the Hawks have had inconsistent to no production from their star forwards(with exception to Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa). Patrick Kane didn’t really find his scoring touch, until the final two games of the Western Conference Finals, against the Los Angeles Kings, and he has since lost that touch. Jonathan Toews has consistently been an offensive anomaly, all post-season long. No production from players as crucial as Toews, would immediately sink most teams in the NHL. The Blackhawks however, survived due to the scoring surge from secondary forwards, most especially Bryan Bickell. Now Bickell has joined the rest of the peanut gallery, in being unable generate offense, and the Hawks are left scrambling for answers, as they have been unable to solve Boston’s physical trapping, as well as being unable to solve Tuuka Rask. I refuse to mention the “Power” Play, because at this point, it isn’t worth the effort of my key-strokes. Somebody, anybody, needs to step up, and produce for the Hawks, tonight! If not, it truly WILL BE panic time, although the Blackhawks really need to play like it is due or die, in order to even the series, on it’s way back to Chicago.
The Bruins are have knocked the Blackhawks out of the catbird seat, and have gotten nice and comfy in it, themselves, as they have an opportunity to take a 3-1 lead in the series. Momentum and confidence are the two most dangerous weapons that a hockey team can have, and the Bruins have both of them, as well as Tuuka Rask. The Bruins clearly pushed the Hawks to the point of bitter frustration, as evidenced in Game 3’s late game scrapping. It is a point that the Hawks have rarely seen, and is uncharacteristic of them to be there. As long as the Bruins continue to play how they did in Game 3, and keep the Hawks unhinged, the Bruins will have nothing to worry about. Much like a mutated version of the Detroit Red Wings(from Games 2-4 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals), the Bruins have shut down the Hawks top scoring units, in addition to the secondary scorers. While they have the Hawks offense in quick-sand, the few goals required to win, have been picked up by some more unexpected faces, like Daniel Paille, for example. If the Bruins continue to keep in simple, and force the Hawks into inefficiency, and frustration, this series will be 3-1, in favor of Boston, by the end of the night.
It isn’t officially panic time, yet for the Hawks, but they MUST act like it is, because they cannot afford to be down 3-1 against Boston. The Bruins must keep up their style of play that they exhibited in Game 3, while not underestimating the Blackhawks, and they will take a 3-1 series lead. Should be interesting…