The Blackhawks now are a team of somewhat desperation needing to win this HUGE game #3 in Nashville to prevent falling into the category of every game being a possible elimination game. The big question is how can they do it? Well first of all there is the Shea Weber factor, let’s touch on that a bit shall we? Nasvhille fans are praising this guy beyond anything I have ever seen and the way he has played well most certainly all of that can be justified quite easily. However, he is one man and hopefully the Hawks are not just zoning in on that particular piece of the equation here as there are many more variables at stake then a defenseman with a hard slap shot (yes preds fans I know he is more then just that).
Variable #1- come out of the gates bangin’ !
Remember the days when players like Dirk Graham and Jocelyn Lemieux started the game by dumping the puck in and crushing the opposition which immediately paid dividends putting momentum in the Hawks favor? Some of you may not but against this tight defensive scheme the Predators have implemented the Hawks need to do so. Dump, chase, crash and get some shots on net and began a hack-a-thon. Throw the tic-tac-toe passes out the window because it does not work with Nashville’s players sticks and bodies getting in the way.
Variable #2- score first
Easier said then done, scoring at all is an obvious issue thus far but if the Hawks can manage to get the first goal it changes the complexion of the game entirely. The Predators game plan changes from scoring first and then playing smart defense and capitalizing on Hawks turnovers to opening up the game, getting back in it, acquiring the lead and then go back to their initial game plan if they get the lead back. Catch my drift?
Variable #3- The Soup Factor
OK so Brian Campbell has been rumored to be possibly in the lineup tonight and my take on that is play him if you can simple as that. Why you ask? Well for obvious reasons and the first one being that enables us to move the puck better from our defensive end into the Predators zone with not just one defensive pairing but with two sets of D. Many people say it’s too soon and he will not be great, well very possibly that could be true but why not get him in there and get a game under his belt and he will be a lot more ready for game #5 rather then dressing him for game#5 in what possibly could be an elimination game god forbid.
On the flip side of that then coach Q has the option of throwing Byfuglien up front again creating havoc similar to what he did in last year’s playoffs. That is the Byfuglien in which Hawks fans have been waiting for all year and simply said we need him to do that.
Those are 3 variables the Hawks need to look at and I am sure they have by now..let’s hope.
Projected forward line ups:
These lines can be debated if they are good or bad but I have boasted all year that Kane & Sharp should be together as they click and have proven that in the past. Moving a rookie with no NHL playoff experience and hands of stone is a poor decision if this is indeed the line up for tonight. Do not get me wrong here I really like Bickell but as a 3rd or 4th line player not a top line winger and furthermore I am sure coach Q’s ridiculous line juggling will start happening mid-way through the first in a desperate attempt to out coach the best coach in hockey Barry Trotz.
What if we lose?
Let’s hope not but it could certainly happen, if that does occur you can better believe this Hawks team is not done because any team in this years playoffs is capable of winning 3 games in a row even though the odds are heavily against them.
What if we win?
Well as Hawks fans that would be the ultimate scenario and would turn Chicago fans frowns upside down for at least a day. Sunday’s win was in dominating fashion and Tuesday’s loss was in dominating fashion, it’s amazing how people react after a win and/or loss and I am one of them. After Sunday it seemed the majority of Predator fans switched to panic mode very similar to how the Hawks fans are currently and after the Predators win on Tuesday the tides are turned and they are 100% confident now. Funny how that happens EH?
In ending, let’s hope the Hawks play with a sense of passion and energy unlike Tuesday’s debacle of a performance (much had to do with Nashville’s incredible play mind you). It’s time for our highly skilled individuals to play as a team instead of trying to do the impossible and waltz right into their zone single handedly.
Thanks for reading,
About the Author
Written by Trent Kondo
An all around sports fan and has been a Chicago BlackHawks supporter longer then he can remember. Currently writes for Prosportsblogging.com on the Blackhawks and NHLHotstove.com on the Edmonton Oilers. (If you would like to email feel free to contact Trent at TKONHOCKEY@gmail.com )