Dec 27, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wingGabriel Landeskog
(92) skates with the puck against Chicago Blackhawks defensemanNiklas Hjalmarsson
(4) and right wingMarian Hossa
(81) during the second period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Tonight, our beloved Chicago Blackhawks wrap up the 2014-2015 regular season with a trip to Denver to take on the Colorado Avalanche, a team that fell out of playoff contention long ago. Regardless, the Blackhawks should be taking this game very seriously.
Yes, the standings in the Central Division still aren’t 100% set, and the Blackhawks have home ice in the first round to play for, but there are other factors involved that would make a W in Denver pay big dividends for the Hawks going into the post season. Here are the top three:
#3 – End on a Mile High Note
You can say what you will about the Blackhawks’ 2014-2015 regular season, but one thing that should be noted about the Hawks is that they have not lost more than three games in a row. This may not seem like a big deal, but unlike the regular season, even a two game losing streak is fatal in the playoffs. Thus, the fact that the Hawks have been able to stop the bleeding and turn themselves around after no more than a three game slide says a lot about their resourcefulness and determination. It should also be noted that this is a quality not all teams in the playoffs possess. So for the Hawks to get reacquainted with this potent characteristic of theirs on the eve of post season will go a long way.
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#2 – Confidence, Confidence, Confidence!
Statistically speaking, the Blackhawks should be able to easily defeat the Avalanche on paper, but as we know, as of the late the Hawks have had trouble with non-playoff caliber teams. Furthermore, the Avalanche have been known to give the Hawks fits (more on that later), so this will be far from a walk in the park. Regardless, it’s not too much of a hyperbole to say the Blackhawks desperately need a win tonight. Backing into the playoffs on a four game losing skid, peppered with seeds of doubt is a horrible way to start the quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup. As we know, wins in the NHL are never given, so the benefits a W brings should be savored. It may be only one game, but to end the regular season with a victory will reignite the Hawks’ confidence and burning drive to win we all know they possess, which is a critical quality in the playoffs.
#3 – Semyon Varlamov
This past offseason, I wrote an article detailing three dragons the Blackhawks must slay in the 2014-2015 regular season if they wanted once again to win the Stanley Cup. One of them was Semyon Varlamov. We all know the Blackhawks have found ways to beat Stanley Cup and Olympic medal-winning goalies, but for some reason, for the past two years Varlamov has given the Hawks absolute nightmares! Why a relatively otherwise underwhelming goalie like Varlamov has proven time and again to get under the Blackhawks’ skin and post 50+ save games against our boys in red, white, and black is all but beyond explanation at this point, which makes beating this rascally Russian between the pipes this evening all the more crucial. Posting a win against the Avs with Varlamov in net would be a tremendous morale victory for the Hawks and give the offense a much-needed spark heading into the post-season. And just think if Antoine Vermette got the game winner…
All that being said, we must no forget that the important thing here, and that is our Blackhawks are in the playoffs. The road to the post season may not have been as straight and narrow as we wanted for the Hawks, but after tonight’s game, regardless of the outcome, they’ll be in charge of a whole new fate. Looking forward to the ride boys!
FOR THE DAGGER!
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