We’re three games into the Chicago Blackhawks and the St. Louis Blues first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. It has been a very tight series so far, as all three games were only separated by one goal. The Hawks couldn’t even manage to score in Game 1, being shut out 1-0. They held serve on the road in Game 2, winning 3-2. But they weren’t able to pull out a win on home ice in Game 3, losing 3-2. Even though the Hawks are down 2 games to 1 in this series, they are still playing excellent hockey. I believe they are looking better each game. The Chicago Blackhawks are notorious for getting better as a series goes along.
Here are 5 observations from the first three Chicago Blackhawks playoff games.
5. St. Louis and hits. It’s no secret the Blues like to hit. Head coach Ken Hitchcock claims he wants his team to have up to 70 hits per game. Well, they haven’t exactly done that, but they’ve certainly made a dent (pun intended) towards this objective. Ironically, the Blues were credited with 41 hits in both of the first two games. In Game 3, they had 40 hits. To put this in perspective, the Blackhawks have been credited for 24, 25, and 36 hits, respectively (36 is actually quite high for the Hawks).
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Can this heavy hitting strategy work for the Blues? Will they be able to wear the Hawks down? Well, other teams have tried (remember the Anaheim Ducks last year?) but it hasn’t worked yet. I guess there’s always a first time (that would be sarcasm).
4. Shots on Goal. The Chicago Blackhawks definitely have the advantage here. In Game 1, they had 35 shots to the Blue’s 15. The Blues were much more aggressive in the second game, and the shots were more even (29 for the Blues and 31 for the Hawks). Ironically, this is the only game Chicago has won so far in the series. In Game 3, the Hawks put a phenomenal 46 shots on net, to the Blue’s 36 shots. Blues goaltender Brian Elliot miraculously stopped all but 2 of them.
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