What’s On Tap For The Chicago Blackhawks This Week

By Keith Schultz

Feb 10, 2012; San Jose, CA, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville talks to his team during a time out against the San Jose Sharks during the third period at HP Pavilion. San Jose defeated Chicago 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks are home Monday night against the Dallas Stars who are a possible first round matchup team.  The Stars traded their stars away and then strangely have played better winning 5 games in a row.  The Stars are in a fight for the #8 spot in the West.  The last time we saw the Stars the scoreboard read 8-1 in favor of the Blackhawks.  Corey Crawford pitched a shut out Sunday in St. Louis which only fueled the fire of the dreaded “goalie controversy”.

After the Blackhawks play Dallas they get three days off.  After their second longest rest period of the shortened season, the Hawks will finish the season with 6 games in 9 days.  The best part of clinching early is though these games have a playoff feel there isn’t the stress of losing and missing out on the playoffs like the ending of the past two season have felt.

Friday night brings the Predators and Bring your own pillow to the U.C. night.  The Hawks have shut out the Predators twice and usually bring a very boring defensive style to the rink. Pekka Rinne has played well as of late but the Hawks seemed to have solved him this year although he’s kept games a lot closer than they could have been.  The Predators will have to almost win out from this point forward to clinch a playoff spot so they should show signs of desperation at the United Center.

Another team circling the #8 spot in the West comes to the United Center in the way of the Phoenix Coyotes.  The Coyotes have picked up points in 8 out of their last 10 but lost a critical game against the Calgary Flames last week.  The Coyotes have not been very good away from their desert home going 5-9-6 on the road. Mike Smith has not stood on his head as much as he did last season but still leads the team in wins with 13 but his goals against is 2.60.  This will be the second straight night a desperate team wanting to make the playoffs visits the United Center.

The biggest thing for the Hawks during the last seven games is remaining healthy for the playoffs.  One thing to look for is if Drew LeBlanc will get on the ice this week after Joel Quenneville said there was a chance he would play before the end of the season.  Patrick Sharp didn’t play Sunday and is doubtful for Monday, I’m all for Sharp sitting out the rest of the season and returning for Game 1 of the playoffs if that’s what it takes for a healthy playoffs for Sharp.

What is your prediction for the Hawks this week?

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