Jun 13, 2015; Tampa, FL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville in the third period game five of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Amalie Arena. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Blackhawks Struggle Through Tough Schedule
Apparently, the defending Stanley Cup Champions don’t get let off too easy the following year.
The Blackhawks’ October schedule looks as hard as anyone’s in the league: four of their first five opponents were playoff teams last year, and in total, only three of the twelve teams they face in October were non-playoff teams last spring. The Blackhawks certainly have their work cut out for them; especially on October 24th, when the ‘measuring stick’ game will be played.
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The Tampa Bay Lightning will return to the United Center that night, four months and nine days after the Blackhawks ended their season on that very ice, winning the Stanley Cup in Game Six of the final. The Lightning are expected to challenge for that Cup again this year, and the Blackhawks will be put to the test, as this begins a stretch of four games that will see them face their Stanley Cup Final, Western Conference Final, and Western Conference Semi-Final opponent.
The Blackhawks do have a four-game home-stand in October, in which they will face the Columbus Blue Jackets, Florida Panthers, Lightning, and Anaheim Ducks. With the Central Division, and Western Conference, competitive as ever, the Blackhawks can’t afford to go into a slump at any point in the season, let alone in October. A slow start for the Blackhawks could be the difference between a divisional playoff seed, and a Wild Card, and with teams like the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings looking to make it back into the post-season, the ‘Hawks could be in for a hell of a battle for post-season position.
What are your concerns heading into the first month of the regular season? Let us know in the comments below!
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