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Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Preview – Round I
Posted By Anna Santiago On Apr 12 2011 @ 12:20 am In Chicago Blackhawks | 1 Comment
It’s been over a decade since an NHL team has won back-to-back Stanley Cups, but of course the Chicago Blackhawks would love to snap that streak. After all, they snapped their nearly 50-year Cup drought in 2010 when the dynamic Toews and team defeated the Philadelphia Flyers. And the Stanley Cup playoffs is where history is made.
Well, history-making doesn’t necessarily come easy. As the 8th seed in the Western conference, the Blackhawks barely slid into the post-season with the aid of the Minnesota Wild, whose victory over the Dallas Stars allowed the Hawks to nab the last playoff spot. The Blackhawks themselves didn’t control their own destiny on their last game of the regular season, ironically against the team who last won consecutive Stanley Cups, the Detroit Red Wings.
The Blackhawks have had a season full of ups and downs. They weren’t consistent as the defending champions, but they had their shining moments as well. But as it’s often said: the regular season doesn’t mean squat. Once you’re in the playoffs, it’s a whole new beginning.
The Blackhawks are slated to battle the league-leading Canucks on Wednesday, April 14th in Vancouver. For fans of the 8th seed Hawks, this first round matchup may be a futile effort on their team’s part. The Sedin twins, Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler have been lighting the ice on fire of late, and despite some shaky starts, Roberto Luongo has been a door.
If the Hawks want to survive past the first round, the team’s offense needs a massive spark. In terms of goaltending, Corey Crawford cannot be compared to Luongo, so the team has to find ways to move the puck up the attacking end instead of putting the pressure on rookie Crawford to constantly make backbreaking saves in order to stymie the Sedins.
Of course, players like Toews, Kane, Sharp and Hossa are not the type to rest on their laurels against a foe as formidable as the Canucks. Guaranteed, more than a few of their shots will have pucks finding the back of the net in spectacular fashion. There will be a sense of desperation during every matchup between the 2 teams, each feeling like a do-or-die Game 7. The outcome of this first round is up in the air as always, but hockey fans can be sure of one thing: it won’t be lacking in nail-biting excitement.
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