How the Blackhawks took care of the Predators

27Apr10

The Chicago Blackhawks have defeated the Nashville Predators in 6 games and will now move on to round two of the NHL playoffs to face-off against the Vancouver Canucks. This will be the second time in two years that both teams meet during the postseason, and the Hawks will be looking forward to a similar result. How can we forget Luongo’s poor performance last year during the Canucks’ last game of the year, when Patrick Kane scored a hat trick.

As a first round underdog, Nashville’s play against one of the regular season’s powerhouse teams, was noticed around the league. The Predators’ work ethic and heart is what they have relied on all year, and it was good enough to land them in the playoffs.While Pekka Rinne had a slight advantage over Antti Niemi in nets, the Blackhawk team defense all but eliminated any advantage the Predators had.

The real turning point in the series, was the Blackhawks ability to roll out 4 lines of offense and 3 lines of defense without hesitation. This characteristic sets Chicago apart from arguably all other NHL teams. Third and fourth line players for them such as: Byfuglien, Bolland, Kopecky and Versteeg would easily crack teams’ top six forwards in 75% of the NHL’s other squads.

When a team’s bottom six has those elements, with the added flare of Toews, Kane, Hossa and Sharp playing in the top two lines, it is easy for the opposing D to feel a bit overwhelmed. While Weber, Suter and Hamhuis tried to cage the beast, the Predators were just too thin when it came down to depth. Bouillon showed signs of aging and Klein is coming of his first full season in the NHL.

All directions pointed to the Hawks winning this series and they did so in good fashion. When and where will their postseason drive end? For Quenneville and his men, hopefully not in Vancouver.



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