Blackhawks News

Playoff Preview: Chicago Blackhawks vs St. Louis Blues Defensemen Preview

By Brian Kinkade
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Apr 10, 2014; Saint Paul, MN, USA; St. Louis Blues defense Alex Pietrangelo (27) in the second period against the Minnesota Wild at Xcel Energy Center. The Minnesota Wild win 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The blueline is one of the Blues’ biggest strengths and all the members of their defensive corps, will make life hard, for the Blackhawks, throughout the first round.

Let’s take a look at how the Blues’ defensemen fared, throughout the regular season.

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All very solid, all very dangerous.  However, the 3rd defenseman pairing has been a bit of patchwork, this season, compared to the rest.

Kevin Shattenkirk is one of the best offensive defenseman, in the NHL.  Much like Nick Leddy, but better.  Shattenkirk starts most of his shifts, in the offensive zone, which is smart, and has worked out well, as he has 10 goals and 35 assists, from the blueline.  His defensive games isn’t his most valuable asset, but his offensive skill more than makes up for it.

Barret JackmanShattenkirk’s partner, is the defensive side of the yin-yang 2nd defensive pairing, of the Blues.  Jackman doesn’t bring a lot of offense, to the table, but he brings a defenseive-mindedness, to the 2nd pairing.  Jackman isn’t the fastest skater, by any means, but he adds a physicality, to the Blues, and plays his role well.  His weakeness is taking penalties, which is an on-the-job hazard, for his line of work.

The top defensive line, of Alex Pietrangelo and Jay Bouwmeester is a very good one.  Both players of very good defensively and both move the puck well and are able to create scoring chances.  The Hawks will have a hard time with these two, as they are one of the better pairings, in the NHL.

As mentioned earlier, the 3rd line remains a work in progress, for the Blues.  Carlo Colaiacovo, Ian Coleand Roman Polak have been in and out of the pairing throughout the season, and have seen minimal success.  Save for Colaiacovo, the others have Corsi Fors under 50%, and often have the ice tilted against them.  The main purpose, of this line, is to give the top-2 pairings a breather.  If Head Coach Ken Hitchcock could, I’m sure he’d love to have Pietrangelo and Bowmeester out there, the whole game, but fortunately, for the Hawks, that’s not humanly possible.

When it comes to defenseman, the advantage might go to no one, as both teams are excellent.  Whichever team’s defensive corps plays better, in this series, might determine who advances.  We’ll see.

Check back tomorrow for the goaltenders and special teams preview.

Go Hawks!