The Chicago Blackhawks will face the Vegas Golden Knights in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, starting sometime next week.
After a 4-3 overtime win for the Golden Knights, the Chicago Blackhawks now know who they will be playing next week in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. They might have dodged the bullet, with them facing the easier of the two teams (Avalanche/Golden Knights), but you always need to be careful about what you wish for.
I really believe the Blackhawks can and will beat the Golden Knights. All-time, these two teams have played 9 times, with Vegas winning 8 of the 9. That doesn’t favor the Blackhawks much, but anything can happen in the playoffs. If Chicago plays as well defensively as they did in Games 3 and 4 against the Oilers, they’ll beat Vegas. They just have to make fewer mistakes, break down less, and stay out of the box.
Robin Lehner and Chicago have an interesting relationship. Obviously, he wants to have Stan Bowman regret trading him, but he has a few weaknesses that the team can implode. He has struggled under pressure in the past, but he is the better goalie between Corey Crawford and him at the moment.
Offensively, Chicago has the better matchup, even if they didn’t look it statically during the regular season. If Patrick Kane can get hot, along with Jonathan Toews keeping his hot-streak going, they’ll be very dangerous. The 3rd and 4th lines for the Blackhawks have helped them in key moments. That 2nd line needs to heat up with Kirby Dach and Kane.
Dach is playing well and is getting close to putting pucks in the net more consistently. If Dach can start doing that in this series, Chicago has a real good shot at winning this one.
My prediction is Chicago in six. The series will end up being 2-2 after 4 games, with Chicago taking games 5 and 6 to win the series. Most of the games will be tight though, with both Crawford and Lehner playing at their bests.
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We’ll see who can be more clutch. Crawford has the experience level, but Lehner has played better as of late. Can Chicago crack Lehner? We’ll see starting next week!