As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve redesigned the blog, and I’ll say it was in honor of the 500th hit, though I’ve been wanting to redesign it for some time now. So without further ado, let’s get to today’s blog post:
Everything that the Blackhawks have worked for comes down to tonight. The Stanley Cup is within their grasp. With a win tonight, the Hawks will win their 2nd Stanley Cup in four years, after having gone 49 years, all of the way back to 1961, without a single one. As a Blackhawks fan, I’ve enjoyed the ride and this four-year dominance seems long overdue, considering the 49-year drought was the second longest streak in NHL history, behind the 54-year drought for the New York Rangers (ended in 1994). Because of that, this day can’t go quicker knowing that at 8:15pm tonight, the puck drops on what could be another Stanley Cup Championship.
Here is your Game 6 Preview:
Who Needs to Show Up
Patrick Sharp. Sharp has been pretty quiet this series. He has two goals and no assists, but his +/-, one of the more important stats in my opinion, is -3 (this means when he has been on the ice, the Blackhawks have given up 3 more goals than they have scored). There are only five total players on the team that have a negative +/- and the other four are all at -1, so Sharp has been notably worse. There have been several scoring opportunities that Sharp hasn’t been able to put away. He does have a good faceoff win percentage at 60.87%, best on the team of anyone who has had more than 1 opportunity, but if he is able to put a goal in tonight and play okay defense, that will be a nice addition to a team that has so far overcome Sharp’s poor play.
Who To Watch For
Patrick Kane. Here comes Patrick Kane! I mentioned Kane as the player that needed to show up in the LA Kings series and he did that and more, and has now continued his strong play. In his last seven games, Kane has 7 goals, 2 assists, and a +/- of +3. He is the Blackhawks scoring machine and he is hot. I would not be surprised to see him score another goal or two tonight. With his two goals in Game 5, he became the first player in Blackhawks history to have 3 postseasons of 9+ goals, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Kane is so fun to watch when he is skating well and imposing his will on the opposing defense. I look forward to seeing more of the same tonight.
Jonathan Toews. Jonathan Toews did not play in the final period of Game 5 due to an upper-body injury. At this point, it is still unknown whether he will play, though encouraging reports are surfacing out of Chicago saying that Toews will be ready. The Blackhawks’ offense flows better with Toews on the ice, and his +4 this series is evidence of that. Additionally, with Bruins’ star center Patrice Bergeron potentially being out as well, it makes Toews that much more of a wild card. If Toews is able to play at anywhere close to 100%, it should give the Blackhawks a huge advantage and may be too much for the Bruins to overcome.
I’m conflicted here. I would like the Blackhawks to end this series as soon as possible. However, I would also like them to clinch a Stanley Cup in the Madhouse, especially since they weren’t able to do that in 2010. However, I think that will be the furthest thing from their mind. Coach Q is going to want to end this as soon as possible, especially with Patrice Bergeron’s injury marked as day-to-day. Seeing as he went to the hospital mid-Game 5, I don’t think Bergeron will play, and I think that may be enough for the Blackhawks to squeak out another close game. I’ll pick the Hawks to win Game 6 and the Stanley Cup with a score of 3-2, in OT. And if I have to pick the GW-goal scorer, I suppose I’ll go with Dave Bolland.
Your daily Chicago sports schedule (no baseball puts every Chicago eye on the Hawks):
Blackhawks @ Bruins – 7:00 pm NBC