"Calling all cars. Be on the look-out for a violent offender who's been missing for a week. He's 6'4 235 pounds. You can drive a squad car through the three-tooth-wide gap on his grill. He has chunks of flesh missing from his face and is sporting bruises and contusions about the head and neck. He's got a recent history of controlled violence, and excessive physicality If seen, approach him with caution as he may be agitated and upset. He's been slumping and isn't happy about it. He was recently demoted at his job, days after he single-handed whipped the ass off the City of Los Angeles. If you happen to see him, call for back-ups as he is in hot demand. Do not try to handle this hombre on your own. He has the ability to escape easily by dropping his shoulders and mowing over opposition. He was last seen in Chicago on June 8, just after Game 5 of the Blackhawks series win at the United Center".
Challenges! Dating back three years to the 2010 Final against Philadelphia, the Hawks have lost the first game away from the United Center in six straight series. Overall in that time frame, the beloved have gone 7-10 on the road, 3-4 this post season. In order to win this series, the Mighty will now have to win at least one game on the road, with the first of potentially three games in Boston tonight.
For the Boyz in the Indian Crest, it’s been confirmed that Stalberg will once again be in the lineup, this time on the fourth line with Krugs and Frolik. Stalberg obviously hasn’t produced much, but his speed is definitely a problem that the Bruins’ defensemen will have to account for, particularly if he gets his chances against the third pairing of Adam McQuaid and Torey Krug, who figure to be far more sheltered tonight and Wednesday with last change. Stalberg has a clear size advantage on Krug and a definite speed advantage on McQuaid, so forcing them to make decisions faster than they’d like could go a long way in jumpstarting his dormant game.
The top three lines for the Hawks remain the same, and quite simply, the Hawks are going to need more out of Captain Tazer and Kane for the Blackhawks to be successful. Yes, Tazer has been dominating possession, but at a certain point he needs to put the biscuit in the basket.
Additionally there is no other time like that tonight when it will be needed, the Blackhawks power play needs to produce. Because the Bruins cover the slot in front of Rask so well, more low-high plays need to be attempted, both at even strength and on the power play. It’s yielded three goals, so far (Saad, Oduya, and Shaw courtesy of Rozsival), and can yield more if it’s exploited properly. The key will be for Blackhawk forwards to engage along the boards and in the corners to occupy a defender, then kicking the puck high for a shot through traffic. Once the puck gets kicked out high, Keith, Seabs and Hammer must shoot fast and stop hitting the opposing player in the leg. Keith especially must not panic when being pressured. Poise and Control boyz!
The Garden faithful will be at near psychotic levels of fervor at puck drop, and the Bruins are sure to feed off of that energy. They’ll come at Hawk defensemen looking to put them in the 15th row, and might just succeed more than a few times. With that said, the Hawks looked to me and many others like a team that was scared as the game went on Saturday. A couple of players started quitting on plays. That trend will continue because Boston will not let up, especially tonight at Home. If we can see it, the Bruins definitely can. In fact, they’ll dial it up even more tonight. The Hawks need an injection of nasty. So Bicks we need you now! Additionally, to offset the Bi's d-men physical attack, the Hawks puck support early must be impeccable, both from defensive partners and forwards. Giving the puck carrier a 15 foot target is far preferable than one 70 feet up ice with 4 other black sweaters in its path. Additionally, the Bruins forwards will be deep enough to give the Hawks space enough to at least hit their own blue line with speed exiting before hitting the neutral zone bog Julien is sure to employ.
Ultimately, this series will come down to which takes its toll first: the Hawks making the Bruins skate, or the Bruins wearing the Hawks down physically. The Hawks must be more successful on their scoring chances and get someone in front of Rask. Doing so, may stop or slow the the oncoming tide of black and gold. Patience, smarts, and above all else speed are going to need to be on full display tonight if the beloved are going to get any closer to their goal. If there’s a textbook road game in this team’s capabilities, it better be tonight!
Hawks let's break that Game 3 losing streak dating back to 2011.