Playoff Preview: Chicago Blackhawks Look to Even Series with St. Louis Blues


Apr 17, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) defends against a shot by St. Louis Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk (22) during the first overtime in game one during the first round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Scott Rovak-USA TODAY Sports

After an epic Game One, the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues get back at it, for Game Two.  St. Louis currently leads the series 1-0, after squeaking out the 4-3 victory, in triple overtime.

Here’s how the Hawks and Blues fared, statistically, in Game One.

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In all honesty, this numbers don’t look as ugly, for the Hawks, as they seemed like they would.  The Blues were the better team, no question, but the Hawks did plenty of things right, in Game One.  They won a bunch of faceoffs, but very uncharacteristically were unable to control the puck, throughout the game.  The Penalty Kill did well, but the key remains to stay out of the penalty box, especially against the Blues(I’m looking at you, Andrew Shaw).  The Power Play could have been better.  If the Blues are going to take dumb penalties and give you chances, you better take every single one of them.  The big key, to the Hawks improving, is winning board battles.  This is why the Blues were able to tie the game, in the final minutes of regulation, and control the puck throughout the game.

The Blues broke out of their slump, with the big Game One victory, and may be getting another boost.  T.J. Oshie and Patrik Berglund both participated in the teams optional practice, on Friday, and could play today.  Alex Steen, Jaden Schwartz and Vladimir Tarasenko all had big games, in Game One, but they are all expected to contribute, night in and night out.  David Backes looked a bit rusty, in his return from injury.  Adam Cracknell had a big game, on the 4th line.

Probably the most important factor, in the Blues comeback, in Game One, would be goaltender Ryan Miller apparently re-finding his game, in the 2nd period.  Miller, who struggled, in the final stretch, of the regular season, gave up 3 goals, in the 1st period.  After that, he was lights-out.   If Miller is able to stay hot, the Hawks could be in trouble.

The Blackhawks need to steal a win in Game Two.  Going down 2-0, in the series, against the Blues, is a lot to comeback from.  Home-ice would have been nice.  The Hawks are going to need a better game from Niklas Hjamlarsson, who looked awfully lost at times, during Game One.  Hopefully Patrick Kane adjusts to his knee-brace, a bit more, as he looked a bit hindered at times.  Jonathan Toews even looked a bit rusty, at times, but over 30 minutes of ice-time hopefully worked out all of the kinks.

The best player one the ice, for the Hawks, in Game One, was Corey Crawford.  Crawford kept the Hawks into a game 40 minutes longer than they deserved to be.

If the Hawks can pull out a win, in Game Two, they will be sitting pretty.  If they are able to win, today, they will be tied 1-1, in the series, with the next 2 games being played, in Chicago.

Go Hawks!