Hawks look to rally against Ducks
With only 19 games left for the Blackhawks every game heading down the stretch becomes huge. The Hawks must find a way to rebound from the last two games against Dallas and LA. Heading down the home stretch to make a playoff run somehow the Hawks need to get points in all of these remaining games.
Anaheim is currently in 13th place in the Western Conference but has been making a significant push as of late and is only 6 points out of a playoff spot. On the other side the Hawks have been finding new ways to lose to teams who they should be beating and must stop this trend.
This will be the final meeting of the year between these two teams. In their previous encounters 2—0-1 Hawks having the edge but that was a different Ducks team. The Hawks should not take the Ducks lightly. It has been a mystery to everyone this year why this team has not done better. If you look at their roster and see the names Perry, Ryan, Getzlaf, Selanne & Koivu you have to shake your head as to why the Ducks have struggled with all that talent. I didn’t even mention one of the brightest young goalies in Hiller.
If the Blackhawks can take comfort in their trials all they have to do is look across the ice at the Ducks, who have also struggled mightily most of the year. The Hawks need to show no mercy and come out clicking on all cylinders because Anaheim has to be licking its chops to see the Hawks. The Hawks need to stay focused and remember they are the ones who are not that far removed from being Stanley Cup Champions.
Ray Emery will probably be in net for the Hawks and Jonas Hiller will be in net for the Ducks. Toews,Hjalmarsson and Montador will all be out again for the Hawks as non of them made the trip west.
Keys to the game
Ø Anaheim has a decent penalty kill so the Blackhawks will probably not fix their power play woes against this team. If they do get a power play they need to just go out there and blast away and try and get their passing more accurate and not get discouraged. That being said the Hawks need to stay out of the box themselves and keep the game to a 5 on 5 contest and not let special teams come into play in this game.
Ø I’m looking for a much better team defensive effort. No loose play especially in their own zone or center ice. I want them to work in their own end particularly in the corners and side boards. I know the Hawks are not necessarily a physical team but I don’t want to see them pushed off of pucks so easily in their own zone. If they do that they should be fine.
Ø The Hawks need to forget about the last two games except what they learned from them and move on. They need to start having some fun out there and trust each other.
Who to look for:
· Look for Teemu Selanne who has scored on the Hawks in each of their three encounters.
· Look for the stars to come out on fire for the Hawks. Hossa and Sharp have had a field day on his team and let’s hope that continues in this game.
· Don’t be surprised if either Jimmy Hayes or Marcus Kruger have big games tonight
· Look for Ray Emery to play solid in nets against his old team. He should know what these shooters tendencies are.
Hawks can be seen against the Anaheim Ducks on NBCSN or WGN Radio 720. Start time is at 6:00 pm CT also checkout the Blackhawks website for road watch venues.
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