Can the Hawks Spring past the Blues and Preds?

By Brian Kasnicka

Dec 29, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Bryan Bickell (29) checks Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones (3) during the third period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

We spring forward this morning and maybe the Hawks will do the same.  The Nashville Predators are beginning to look human once again after losing their sixth straight game Saturday night at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.  The Predators have been outscored 24-11 during their losing streak and have given hope to the St. Louis Blues as well as the Chicago Blackhawks that the central division crown is still attainable.  The Hawks are just six points back of the Preds for the division crown, but can the Blackhawks play well enough in their last seventeen games to catch Nashville?  Well buckle up, because we are going to find out.

With Patrick Kane sidelined for the next twelve weeks countless number of people have penciled the Hawks into that third place finish in the division, if not worse, but the Hawks aren’t going to lay down and die.  The Hawks are3-1 without Kane in the line-up and have looked a little lackadaisical in a couple of those games including Friday night’s win over the cellar dwelling Edmonton Oilers.  If it wasn’t for an outstanding forty-six save performance from Corey Crawford, the Hawks would’ve been just the nineteenth win for the Oilers.  Newly acquired center Antoine Vermette looked good and scored the game winner in the third round of the shootout, an area where the Hawks really miss eighty-eight.

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With a few Kane-less games under their belt the Hawks are primed to make a run at the central division crown.  They have one of the deepest blue lines in the game and their top six forwards are unparalleled even without Kane.  If Corey Crawford can keep turning in performances like he did Friday night against Edmonton I do not have a doubt in my mind that we will be calling the Chicago Blackhawks central division champions.

What happens if the Hawks are decent enough without Kane, but can’t catch the Predators or the Blues?  Are they in trouble if they have to go play St. Louis and Nashville on the road?  That’s a legitimate question, but I don’t think it’s too much of a bother playing in either of their buildings.  Sure it’s always great to have home ice advantage, but the Hawks are pretty good on the road, plus they beat St. Louis at home in last year’s opening round of the playoffs.

So Hawks fans, if they end up catching the Blues and Predators and clinch the central that’s great news and hello game one at the madhouse, but if they don’t catch up it’s not the end of the world.  Do you think the Blackhawks can win the central?

Thanks for reading and I look forward to reading your comments about the Hawks chances.  Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.  Happy Spring forward!

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