Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
4) Crawwwwwwwferrrrrrd. Sorry, I thought we were in St. Louis for a second. Crow has been a machine for most of the season, save his injury and the struggles immediately after he returned from said injury. He kept the ’Hawks in many regular-season games when they should’ve been marking up an ‘L’ (think Ray Emery against Calgary in Feb. 2013, on repeat).
He’s sporting his second-best save percentage as a starter at .924 — only two-hundredths off his best mark — and finished a win behind his career-best regular-season total with 32. He also won a share of the Jennings Trophy, given to the goaltender with the fewest goals allowed, minimum 25 games played. He’s sharing it with Montreal’s Carey Price, who is widely considered to be very good at his job. Crow is a steady constant for the ’Hawks heading into this series.
5) The Preds are dependent on home ice. “Well it’s a good thing they have it against the ’Hawks,” you say. But then you consider the ’Hawks set a franchise record this season for most road victories with 24. And you consider the Preds are 3-6-3 in their last 12 home games. And you also consider coach Joel Quenneville saying after a recent game that his team is “more effective on the road.” And after all that, you consider the Preds are an absolutely average 19-16-6 on the road, making them the only Western Conference playoff team without 20+ road wins this season. This means they’ll put themselves under heavy pressure to get the job done at home, giving the ’Hawks a chance to play loose and free. Add it all up, and home ice seems like it could be an anchor around the Preds’ collective neck.