Hawks close regular season in Colorado

In a season of inconsistencies and trials and tribulations, the Chicago Blackhawks are looking to close out in a fashion to prime them for what hopefully will be a long play-off run. The Hawks still do not know who their opponent will be, but can to a certain extent control that with a win in Colorado.

If the Hawks win or get at least one point their first round opponent will be guaranteed to be the Nashville Predators, If they lose they could face either the St. Louis Blues or possibly the Anaheim Ducks.

In any of these scenarios the one thing we do know is that the Hawks will start on the road which was addressed this week by coach Quenneville and the players as something they will deal with and could actually be a blessing.

The Hawks have not had the best of weeks so far with three straight losses, but more importantly they are looking to turn the tide of how they are playing. They are solid defensively but the offense has been a struggle, which it has been at points throughout this season surprisingly. Then again the entire league has struggled with offense. Teams have tightened up the gaps, closed lanes and shut down the middle of the ice and in front of goalies making scoring a challenge for all teams.

The Colorado Avalanche have had a terrible season after their promising one in the prior year. Even though the Colorado Avalanche have absolutely nothing to play for they are professionals and always give the Blackhawks trouble with their speedy run and gun game and a stingy goalie.

Both teams special teams are spotty surprisingly Colorado has the better penalty kill but, like the Hawks a less than stellar power play.

This will be the fifth and rubber match between these two clubs with the Hawks taking the first two encounters and the Avalanche taking the last two. There is no question it is more important for the Blackhawks to win this than the Avalanche but as we have seen particularly this season who should win games is no guarantee that they will. Just ask the LA Kings. 

Look too for the Hawks to more put a concerted effort towards working on the things that have been falling short, power plays in specific zone entries, establishing presence in between the dots and minimizing defensive zone turnovers. If the Hawks can clean those items up they should been in good shape.

It seems like the season just started but they Hawks find themselves now on the brink of the season that they truly have yearned for and have worked towards.Who the Hawks actually play is probably irrelevant other than you want to go in playing the right kind of hockey.

This is the last curtain call. Now is the time for the switch to be flipped because the curtain is being raised next week. Goodbye regular season you were entertaining, frustrating and filled with surprises. Now the Hawks and their fans are all hoping for a long rewarding run in the season they have had their sights on since September.

Who to look out for:

The Avs stop point getters start with their captain Gabriel Landeskog followed by off season pick up veteran Jerome Iginla and center Ryan O’Reilly.  If goalie Semyon Varlamov is in net look for the Hawks to have a hard time scoring as he usually shuts down the Hawks.

For the Hawks  Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad have been t providing he offence.  Duncan Keith has contributed on the offensive side as well as of late as well. Andrew Shaw has been an offensive spark as well establishing net front presence and greasy goals.

INJURY REPORT

Blackhawks

Brad Richards is on a day to day basis with upper body injury.

Patrick Kane is on LTIR with clavicle injury

Daniel Carcillo  is out with upper body day to day

Kimmo Timonen is out with upper body injury

 

Avalanche

Nathan McKinnon –  foot injury out for season

 Dennis Eversburg – shoulder out for season

Jamie McGinn – back out for season

Ryan Wilson –  shoulder out for season

 
 

Where to watch:

WGN or listen on WGN radio 720 in chicago at 8:00 pm Central time