The Chicago Blackhawks have already achieved their goal of getting one game while in Tampa, swiping home-ice advantage away from the Lightning. Now on Saturday night, they have the opportunity to take a 2-0 series lead back to Chicago where they have been almost unbeatable.
A 2-0 series lead in the Stanley Cup Final against an experienced team could spell the end of Tampa Bay’s chances. The Chicago Blackhawks have put themselves in a fantastic spot, just like they did during their last Stanley Cup trip, outlasting the Boston Bruins in a three overtime classic.
Two years later and the Hawks’ have a 1-0 series again. They would like this go around to play out a little differently. That Hawk’s team lost the next two games in the series, before rattling off three straight wins to capture a Stanley Cup.
Going back to the United Center with one win is already what the Blackhawks had in mind when this final round began. Going up 2-0 would be the cherry on top.
Game one’s victory was of the grand theft variety. Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brandon Saad and Marian Hossa were all held without a point. And the Hawks’ still came out on top. One could easily see the Hawks’ really putting the hurt on this Bolts team once those guys get involved in the scoring.
Corey Crawford proved why he already has one ring. The defense is starting to take shape with David Rundblad and Kyle Cumiskey not being complete train wrecks on the back end.
A team that has it’s share of flaws seems to be putting it all together at the right time. They didn’t play their best in game one and got out with a victory. Surely there will be a better effort in game two, and that is going to require quite the response from Tampa if they want to get to Chicago tied at 1.
Two days rest in between benefit both teams. Tampa gets a chance to evaluate what went wrong and attempt to make corrections for game two. The Hawks’ get two more days to prepare and make their subtle adjustments to play a more complete game.
In the past, I’ve hammered Coach Q in these lines, questioning some of his decisions over the course of a season. What he does so well is making those in-series adjustments and finding out to exploit Jon Cooper and the Bolts.
It will be interesting what the extra day will do for Coach Q. The power-play is probably number one on the ledger, as getting that going can really shift the series towards towards the Hawks’.
Just like in 2013, the Hawks’ have a chance to take a 2-0 series lead back to the United Center. They would prefer this season to play out different than 2013, and they a golden opportunity to take the Stanley Cup Final by hold and be only two wins away from capturing their third Stanley Cup in six seasons.