The defense was covered on Friday. Today, let’s take a look at the forwards that the Chicago Blackhawks will be tasked with facing.
Corey Perry- 7 G, 8 A
Ryan Getzlaf- 2 G, 10 A
Patrick Maroon- 4 G, 3 A
Well this group has caused a ton of havoc through the first two rounds of the playoffs. Perry and Getzlaf are two of the more underrated offensive players in the game, overshadowed by guys like Crosby, Malkin, Ovechkin, Kane and Toews. These two are just as good as any guys on that list, and both are also pretty good in their own end as well. The surprise on this line to some would be the emergence of Patrick Maroon. A guy with a some size brings another power forward element to the Ducks , as Maroon has no problem battling along the boards and down low. He can do the dirty work for this top line, creating the space for Perry and Getzlaf, while being able to score himself.
This line will be tasked with facing Toews while staying in Anaheim, as the Ducks will want Kesler to get a more favorable matchup with the Richards line. These two top lines will be battling for space, and whoever gets it will find themselves in the scoring column more. The possession numbers favor the Hawks’, especially when Toews, Hossa and Saad are out against these guys. It will be interesting to see if Bruce Boudreau makes a change if these three find themselves underwater possession wise against Toews’ group. He could get Kesler’s group out there, but Toews and Kesler have a history that favors Toews, so this will be a perfect example of feeling the game out.
Matt Beleskey- 5 G, 0 A
Ryan Kesler- 4 G, 5 A
Jakob Silfverberg- 3 G, 8 A
This group doesn’t have the name power of line # 1, but has a very similar skill set. Kesler, when healthy, is a force to be reckoned with. He makes this Ducks team much more skilled than the playoff groups of years past. He is flanked by Silfverberg, who was acquired in the Bobby Ryan trade, and Silfverberg brings a quick shot and a high hockey IQ and that is evident by his eight assists in nine playoff games. Beleskey has really helped the Ducks with secondary scoring, with five goals leading this second line.
The best bet for this line is to see Patrick Kane, Brad Richards and Bryan Bickell. Toews has eating up Kesler in previous playoff series, and Richards’ line have had trouble controlling the possession numbers. At home in game one and two, these three will see a lot of Kand will have to stay afloat because when they get to Chicago, they are in for a tough challenge.
Andrew Cogliano – 2 G, 3 A
Nate Thompson- 1 G, 0 A
Kyle Palmieri- 0 G, 2 A
The possession numbers slide as we move down the lines, which should favor the Hawks’, but this line is not without its strengths. Nate Thompson is solid in the dot, which will be key for Anaheim. Cogliano has speed and can forecheck with the best of them. This line can cause a bit of chaos, like the Hawks’ third line, but will need to get the possession numbers in the right direction in order to do so. Thompson’s CF is 47.87%; Andrew Cogliano’s is 58.41% and Palmeri checks in at 55.50%.
Richard Rakell- 1 G, 0 A
Tomas Fleischmann- 0 G, 1 A
Tim Jackman- 0 G, 0 A
Fourth lines for most NHL teams are very different than the four line for the Hawks’. This line is just strong and physical. They are they to bring the pain. They don’t have the forechecking and scoring ability that the Hawks’ line does and they will probably be sheltered with zone starts. Emerson Etem could crack the line up with this line, as he has the skill and speed to ability to bring something to this group.