The St. Louis Blues haven’t looked like an imposing team in the past two weeks, but it won’t be a walk in the park for the Chicago Blackhawks if they want to repeat as Stanley Cup Champs, going through the Blues in the process. Here are three reasons why Blackhawks fans shouldn’t celebrate just yet:
#3: Physicality Kills Skill
The Blackhawks have earned their success by being a fast, smooth, and slick team. All of their players have the ability to move the puck up-ice fast, whether that be with a pass, or skating it up themselves (see: Marian Hossa on Saturday). However, the Blues themselves have shown just how effective a physical game-plan can be against the speed of a ‘Hawks offense. With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane fresh off injuries, the Blues’ game-plan will undoubtedly bring lots of hits, clean or not. The Blackhawks will have to have their heads on a swivel to avoid this, and they have shown it can be done in their past two games against the Blues this season, both big wins.
#2: History Is On Their Side
It has been a while since a team slumped as badly coming into the playoffs as the Blues did: the year was 1993. The Buffalo Sabres came into the NHL playoffs on a six-game losing streak, after finishing fourth in the Adams Division. They faced the best team in that said division, the Boston Bruins, who were red-hot coming in. The Sabres shocked the League, going on to sweep the Bruins 4-0, and earning a berth in the second round. (The Blues also swept the Blackhawks in the first round that year).
#1: The Blues Are Due
The Blues enter on a six-game tailspin that is easily their longest losing streak of the season, but if the past is any indication, they will bounce back in full force. After losing consecutive games this regular season, the Blues have bounced back for two or more straight wins each time. With a veteran coach in Ken Hitchcock behind the bench, their practices in the past several days will be focused with one goal: snapping the losing streak with four wins in their next seven games.
It will be a classic battle between two of the most hated rivals in the United States. Whatever happened in the regular season is no matter anymore, and fans from all over the NHL will tune in each game to watch these two classic teams duke it out.
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