Mar 11, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Patrick Sharp (10) battles for position with Los Angeles Kings defenseman Willie Mitchell (33) in front of goalie Jonathan Quick (32) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Game-#1 Chicago Blackhawks (0-0-0) at LA Kings (0-0-0)
Game Time- 2pm Central
Preview– The LA Kings will be raising their Stanley Cup banner and the Blackhawks will be there to witness it. The biggest news before the game could be whether or not Jonathan Toews makes it on the ice for the game since he missed Friday’s practice with flu like symptoms.
The Blackhawks and their fans will get to see Marian Hossa make his return to the ice for the first time since his concussion induced time off thanks to Raffi Torres. The Hawks roster has very little change in it since we last saw them in their exit against the Phoenix Coyotes. Their only free agent signings came on defense with Sheldon Brookbank and Michal Rozsival. The biggest key to the lineup is health, but Coach Q is shaking up a little bit with the promotion of Dave Bolland to the 2nd line center. Bolland has the ability offensively for the task the question will be if Coach Q can let them settle in to their roles before he gets line change itchy. With 10 out of the first 12 on the road it is imperative that the Hawks don’t go into a 9 game losing streak tail spin like last season. The key to the season and this game will be the goal keepers for the Blackhawks, they don’t have to be spectacular, but they have to stop everything they are suppose to.
The Kings are the champs but as Hawks fans remember there is usually a hangover after the summer so hopefully that along with the long lockout lay off will cause Hawks killer Jonathan Quick not be in midseason form like he was during the playoffs and against the Hawks last season. Quick pitched two shutout against Chicago in going 3-0-1 last season on his road to the Conn Smyth trophy. The play in general across the league should be pretty choppy the first week or two, and it should be hard pressed for the Kings to play at the level they were at when the hoisted the cup last June.
Prediction– The Kings are not as ready as the Hawks are for the season to start and the Hawks pull off the road win 4-2.
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