Chicago Blackhawks: Three Reasons Why They Beat The Nashville Predators

By Skylar Peters
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Apr 25, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks left wing Patrick Sharp (10) celebrates next to defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) after scoring against the Nashville Predators in the first period in game six of the first round of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

#2: It’s Playoff Time, And Everyone Chipped In

Part of the reason the Blackhawks had a mediocre regular season (by Chicago Blackhawks’ standards) is their consistency, or lack of, from some players throughout the year. Norris-Trophy-winning defenseman Duncan Keith was only status quo, while the defensemen behind him weren’t helping out much at times, either. Andrew Shaw and Patrick Sharp were MIA for most of the regular season, and some fans wouldn’t hesitate to add a few more names to that list. Yes, the Blackhawks’ top line of Marian Hossa, Jonathan Toews, and Brandon Saad was a bright spot, and prior to Patrick Kane’s regular season-ending injury, the second line was, too. However, in a hotly contested year in the Central Division, it would only be good enough for third place.

The Blackhawks’ spoke of ‘flipping the switch’ throughout the closing weeks of the regular season. Although it’s up for debate if we have actually witnessed that take place just yet, there is no questioning the individual efforts of some of the Blackhawks that we were complaining about just a few weeks ago.

Johnny Oduya, who is likely out the door come the start of Free Agency, had six blocked shots in the Blackhawks’ triple-overtime victory in Game Four.

Patrick Sharp’s 5 points in 6 games gave him a .83 PPG average in Round One, a 30% increase on the .63 rate he posted in the regular season.

Antoine Vermette rebounded from two nights in the press-box as a healthy scratch, and scored his first goal in a Blackhawks’ sweater in Game Four.

Andrew Desjardins was a force in Game Three, scoring a big goal and earning playing time late in the game, after joining Vermette upstairs for games one and two.

Corey Crawford was pulled after the first period in Game One, and after Scott Darling had a similar fate in Game Six, Crawford jumped right back in and made several big saves to preserve the Blackhawks’ win.

These statistics are just a brief glimpse of the improved game everyone brought to the ice in the first round. Blackhawks’ fans had gotten what they’d been praying for all season, and if these players find consistency in the next round, it could be another deep playoff run in store for the team.