The Chicago Blackhawks finished off the Minnesota Wild Thursday night and punched their ticket to their fifth Western Conference Final in seven years. The Hawks now await the winner of the Calgary, Anaheim series. Anaheim has a 3-1 series lead and will look to extinguish the Flames tonight and lock in their match up with the Hawks. The way it’s looking Anaheim looks to be the probable foe to challenge the Hawks, but it’s not over until the fat lady sings.
Anaheim is an incredible team and has been for the past few years. With the addition of Ryan Kesler over the summer the Ducks greatly improved their center ice position, which is a must if you want to compete in the west. Anaheim is a combination of the Hawks previous opponents. They’re physical like Nashville and fleet of foot like Minnesota. Corey Perry, one of the league’s purest goal scorers, will dance around you and put one past the goalie, or just run you right into the third row. Anaheim is a team full of physical, yet talented players. Because of their speed and physicality, the Anaheim Ducks will be the Hawks biggest challenge yet. As previously mentioned, with the addition of Kesler the Ducks now have one of the best one-two center punches in the west. The Hawks, who lack of center depth was exposed and preyed upon by the Kings last year, added Brad Richards and Antoine Vermette to bolster the middle of their line-up.
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One thing that Anaheim does lack is an experienced goalie. Frederick Andersen is an excellent goalie and proved that during the regular season and so far in the playoffs. Anaheim was so confident in Andersen that they let Jonas Hiller hit free agency, and subsequently sign with the Flames, this past summer. If the Hawks pepper him with enough shots they are bound to get a few by him like they did with Dubnyk and Rinne before that. It’s also great to see the Hawks being dangerous from all four forward lines. They’re hitting their peak at just the right time.
A match up with the Ducks isn’t set in stone just yet, but it appears like it’s more than likely. Once the conference final is set we’ll have a full preview as well as a statistical break down for you. That’s all for now fellow Hawks fans, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and on Facebook for all of your Chicago Blackhawks news. Eight more wins!
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