Hawks prepare to face Wild
The Hawks are looking to regain their form with the help of their fans as the series now will be held in Chicago’s United Center. The Hawks are looking to wipe away their lackluster play in Minnesota and regain control of the series in this pivotal game 5 of the series.
Coming into game 5, though the series is even the momentum has shifted to the Minnesota Wild due more in part to the play of the Blackhawks. In Minnesota they were out hit, out shot and out drawn in the face-off circles not exactly a recipe for wins which sums up both losses. The Hawks also have not been winning many board battles.
The Wild also got a lift when Matt Cooke returned to their line up after a seven game suspension and made his presence know with bruising physical play. The Hawks need to keep their heads up on the ice but not back down or give in which their physical play was a bit lacking in Minnesota. They need to start delivering some legal brusing hits of their own.
The Hawks will look to their home ice to turn the series back I their favor. They will have to do this without the services of Brandon Bollig who received a two game suspension for his hit on the Wilds Keith Ballard.
· What to look for:
· Line matchups will give coach Quenneville the advantage on home ice with last line change. In Minnesota there were some intriguing line combinations to say the least. It will be interesting to see if Quenneville goes back to the lines he had in the first two games or if we will see more psychedelic line combos.
· The Hawks need to find ways to get the puck to the net and establish net front presence which has been lacking since the first two games of the series. They in general need to be more of a nuisance for Bryzgalov.
· The Hawks had way too many giveaways and need to clean this up quickly and in general have better puck management or Minnesota will be walking off with this series.
For the Hawks Marian Hossa and Brent Seabrook are leading the charge with 2 Goals and 8 assists and Patrick Sharp maybe heating up since he broke through last game with a goal.
For the Wild their stars Zach Parise and Jason Pominville are leading the way. Look out to for Nino Niederreiter who has been lethal.
The question is have the Blackhawks let the Wild in this series or were the games in Minnesota a minor speed bump? We will find out if the defending Stanley Cup Champs can return to the championship form on Sunday evening.
Injuries -Andrew Shaw (lower body) for the Hawks. For the Wild Matt Moulson and Keith Ballard, Jason Zucker (quad) and goaltenders Josh Harding, Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper (upper body)
Next game Sunday, May 11, at 8:00 p.m. CDT. Tune in to CNBC in Chicago or listen on radio via 87.7FM the Game.