Nov 6, 2015; Newark, NJ, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) and New Jersey Devils defenseman Andy Greene (6) look for the puck after a shot during the third period at Prudential Center. The Devils defeated the Blackhawks 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
Well, well, well! The Chicago Blackhawks and the New Jersey Devils face off tonight for the second time this season. Their first contest was just last Friday, and the Devils came away victorious by a score of 4-2. It was a game that most people thought the Hawks would win; which is what made it all that more depressing. But revenge is sweet, and this is what the Chicago Blackhawks have a chance to do tonight. Here are 5 reasons I think the Hawks will win.
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5. The game is at the United Center. The Chicago Blackhawks are 7-1-1 at home, and 1-5 on the road. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. The Hawks are not a bad road team, and I expect them to come together and do well on their upcoming Circus Trip. But so far, they have taken advantage of the home cooking and the home crowd. Let’s hope that continues tonight.
4. Hjalmarsson is not that bad. Niklas Hjalmarsson was a -4 last Friday night versus the Devils. For anyone that follows the Chicago Blackhawks, you know this is just not normal for Hammer. He is one of the top four defensemen, and could very well be the best defensive defenseman on the team. The chances that Hjalmarsson will have another bad game are pretty slim.
3. Injuries No More. There are a few things that will be different in this game compared to the last tilt against these New Jersey Devils. First and foremost, Marian Hossa is no longer injured and is back in the lineup. Even if Hossa doesn’t contribute as much on the score sheet anymore, his overall contributions to the game can never be underrated.
Artemi Anisimov was hurt in the second period of the last tilt between these two teams. He only played 7:34 minutes. But he is back now, and he is an integral part of the second line that scored all 4 goals in the last game against the Edmonton Oilers. His presence should certainly help matters.
2. Subtle Line Changes. A few line changes have been made recently (what else is new with Coach Q)? Essentially, Q has swapped Andrew Shaw (now 1st line) and Teuvo Teravainen (now 3rd line), and put Brandon Mashinter on the fourth line. Ryan Garbutt appears to be the healthy scratch, because he’s been sick and the team won vs. Edmonton. It should be noted that TT is finally on the right wing, which is his natural position. Is it possible that the lines will have more balance with the Shaw/TT swap? We shall see.
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1. Crawford! Corey Crawford did not have a good night this past Friday when he played the New Jersey Devils. He gave up 3 goals, and had a .769 save percentage before he was replaced by Scott Darling. But when Crow has a bad time, it usually doesn’t last for long. He actually posted a .944 save percentage in his most recent tilt against the Edmonton Oilers, and was especially hot in the second period. I expect Corey to come back strong against the Devils in the name of revenge.
Can the Chicago Blackhawks pull this one out? Puck drop is at 7:30 pm. It’s been three days since the last contest, so let’s enjoy this one, shall we?
Let’s Go Hawks!!
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