Blackhawks News

Chicago Blackhawks: Best and Worst First Round Match-Ups

By Tim Lively
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Mar 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his gaol with Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the third period at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 30, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his gaol with Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) during the third period at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Los Angeles Kings 4-1. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /

We’re in the final calendar month of the 2014-2015 NHL regular season, and our beloved Chicago Blackhawks are right in the thick of the post-season race, with a spot all but assured.

As of this post, the Hawks have been sitting at third in the Central Division standings somewhat comfortably for a while, but also as of this post, there are four other Central Division teams occupying playoff slots, giving the Hawks four potential first round opponents. While some of these potential match-ups are more likely than others, we all know how quickly things can change in the final push for the post season, especially given the amount of pivotal match-ups facing the Hawks in April.

That being said, here are my preferential rankings of the Blackhawks’ potential first round opponents:

Feb 8, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Steve Ott (9) and Chicago Blackhawks left wing Daniel Carcillo (13) fight during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 8, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Blues center Steve Ott (9) and Chicago Blackhawks left wing Daniel Carcillo (13) fight during the third period at Scottrade Center. The Blackhawks won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /

#4 – St. Louis Blues –

It’s been looking very likely for some time now that the Hawks will have a first round re-match with their down state rivals, the St. Louis Blues. This potential match-up has many in Hawks Nation apprehensive, and for good reason. The Blues are a very talented squad that likes to throw their weight around, especially at the Blackhawks and their large shadow that St. Louis has been living in for several years now. Without a doubt Jonathan Toews and Brent Seabrook will have bulls-eyes on their back for this series, and even though Hawks GM Stan Bowman brought in some extra muscle with Antoine Vermette and Andrew Desjardins at the trade deadline, this first round would once again take a lot out of the Hawks physically and mentally.

However, the Blackhawks do have an emotion edge over the Blues, which makes them vulnerable to becoming easily rattled. Even so, should the Hawks  square off against St. Louis, their best game plan would be to make the series as short as possible by exploiting the one weakness on the Blues’ roster, their goaltending situation, which has yet to be playoff-proven. This makes the Blackhawks re-establishing and cementing their scoring groove in what’s left of the regular season all the more critical.

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