Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Best offensive player
Blackhawks: Patrick Kane, 61 games, 27 goals, 37 assists, 5 game-winning goals
Predators: Filip Forsberg, 82 games, 26 goals, 37 assists, 6 game-winning goals
Breakdown: Forsberg isn’t old enough (20) to buy alcohol. The kid is well on his way to being an absolute stud. But Patrick Kane is already an absolute stud, while also being the game’s toughest man to stop en route to the net.
Best offensive defenseman
Blackhawks: Duncan Keith, 80 games, 10 goals, 35 assists, 2 game-winning goals
Predators: Roman Josi, 81 games, 15 goals, 40 assists, 4 game-winning goals
Breakdown: Keith is a huge possession driver for the ’Hawks from the blue line, and his importance cannot be overstated. But Josi has been a revelation for the Preds. He and partner Shea Weber have combined for 100 points this season.
Best defensive defenseman
Blackhawks: Niklas Hjalmarsson, 53.26 Corsi for, -9.42 offensive/defensive zone starts ratio
Predators: Shea Weber, 50.66 Corsi for, -9.25 offensive/defensive zone starts ratio
Breakdown: Josi actually sports a lower ratio of offensive vs. defensive zone starts (-10.02) at a slightly lower Corsi (50.33), but Weber is “the guy.” Any ’Hawks fan knows what Hjalmarsson brings to the table. The guy is a tank.
Blackhawks: Joel Quenneville, 17+ seasons, 754 wins, two Stanley Cups (2010, 2013)
Predators: Peter Laviolette, 13+ seasons, 436 wins, one Stanley Cup (2006)
Breakdown: Lavi is a solid coach, but there’s only one current NHL head man who ranks ahead of Q, and the ’Hawks aren’t facing Detroit here.
Potential surprise star
Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen
Predators: Calle Jarnkrok
Breakdown: This assumes Jarnkrok centers the Preds’ third line. The ’Hawks know what Teuvo 0ffers, but both players could receive the chance to go after the opposition’s bottom six.
Advantage: To be determined
Mar 27, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) is checked into Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Sergei Bobrovsky (72) by defenseman Jack Johnson (7) during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Best home-ice setup
Blackhawks: United Center
Predators: Bridgestone Arena
Breakdown: There isn’t a bad seat at the UC, and the anthem is always a treat. Bridgestone doesn’t really have a bad seat either, however, and the bar scene is absolutely fantastic for pre- and post-game fun. Note: In this assessment, I’m disregarding the Nashville front office’s apparent hatred of ’Hawks fans.
Best anthem singer
Blackhawks: Jim Cornelison
Predators: Does it matter?
Breakdown: No, no it doesn’t. Jim is the best (sorry, Wayne Messmer).
Recent moment of playoff insanity
Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw “hitting” Mike Smith
Predators: Shea Weber losing his mind on Henrik Zetterberg
Breakdown: Smith received an Academy Award for his performance, but that isn’t enough here.
Top celebrity fan
Blackhawks: Vince Vaughn
Predators: Carrie Underwood
Breakdown: Discuss amongst yourselves.
Oct 1, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews hoists the Stanley Cup during a ceremony before the game against the Washington Capitals at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
Stanley Cups won
Blackhawks: Five (1934, 1938, 1961, 2010, 2013)
Breakdown: Make it six, please.
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