May 23, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Antoine Vermette (80) moves the puck against Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Getzlaf (15) during the second period in game four of the Western Conference Final of the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Well, this is scary, but here we are. The Chicago Blackhawks are on the brink of entering the offseason tonight as they are down 3-2 in the Western Conference Finals to the Anaheim Ducks. We hear so much about the Hawks’ battle-tested track record, and we need to see it pay off tonight, in Game Six, or else…
Tonight’s game will be played in Chicago, so that’s nice. Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM Central Time. The game can be seen on NBCSN and can be heard on WGN 720 AM.
The Ducks haven’t let up on their physical, punishing style. It’s worked for them as well as against them. This style of play has lead to more penalties for the Ducks and, believe it or not, the Hawks have taken advantage of some of those penalties with some Power Play goals.
Corey Perry was the leading scorer in the Stanley Cup Playoffs heading into this series. He has had a rough go of it this series with only 2 points to go along with his 6 penalty minutes.
Much was made about Anaheim’s lack of big-time defenseman, but Sami Vatanen’s 2-point night in Game Five turned out to be the difference in the Ducks having the Hawks on the brink of elimination, rather than vice-versa.
Ryan Getzlaf has had a monster series, and he hasn’t even scored a goal yet. He has 7 points(all assists) in the six games played. Jakob Silfverberg as also had a big series with 5 points, including 3 in the last 2 games.
The big edge for the Ducks has been Frederik Andersen’s play in net. However, Game Five is one he’d like to forget. Andersen has an outstanding .925 Save Percentage in 14 playoff games, this year, but he has allowed 9 goals in the last 2 games for a dismal .868 Save Percentage in that span. Will this continue?
The Hawks have been here before, just not yet in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. During the recent Hawks Renaissance, the Hawks have gone 9-4 in playoff elimination games. When down 3-2 in a series, they have forced a Game Seven three times. In those three Game Sevens, the Hawks have gone 1-2.
One game at a time though. I mean, it is do-or-die after all.
Jonathan Toews’ superhero-like performance in Game Five was something that won’t soon be forgotten. Hopefully, those dramatics combined with the disappointment of eventually losing in overtime of Game Five will bring about a hungry and very inspired performance from the Hawks.
Just a hunch, but look for Bryan Bickell to atone for his awful turnover that resulted in Matt Beleskey’s game-winning goal. Hopefully, that screw-up brings out playoff-Bickell, which would just be wonderful for the Hawks.
Remember when Teuvo Teravainen was scratched in Game Three? Yeah, I can’t believe that actually happened either. Rest assured, with the way Teravainen has been playing, that won’t happen again.
Two points in five games for Patrick Kane. It’s unlikely that pace will continue much longer, but how much longer do we have?
David Rundblad will return to the lineup tonight and will replace Kimmo Timonen. It’s fair to call the Timonen trade a bust, but it’s hard to say it. Timonen was such a great defenseman in the NHL for so long, but that time has clearly passed.
Corey Crawford gave up 5 goals on 28 shots in Game Five. He wasn’t great, but he wasn’t that bad either. The Hawks had seemingly forgotten how to get the puck out of their own zone for the entirety of the 1st period, and there’s only so much a goaltender can do in that situation.
Just win this one. Win this one to stay alive and have a toss-up chance of winning Game Seven in Anaheim. The Hawks should win at him and the Hawks can win in Anaheim. First things first though.