After ending the first part of their season on a road trip where they went 2-1-3, the Blackhawks, along with the rest of the NHL, will have a 2 week break as the Winter Olympic games commence in Sochi, Russia. Four of the 10 Hawks competing in the games will play for the two North American teams, as Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith will return for their second Olympic games after winning gold with Team Canada in Vancouver, while Patrick Sharp will make his Olympic debut for the Canadians. Meanwhile, Patrick Kane will be the only Hawk to represent the stars and stripes of Team USA in hi...
The Islanders (10-20-7) come limping into this contest, desperate for a win, after failing to record a victory in 14 of their last 16 games. The Wings have not been too successful themselves of late as they have been completely ravaged by injuries. Detroit (17-12-9) is just 3-5-2 in their last 10 games and their normally strong home ice advantage is anything but with a record of 6-9-6.
*It is important to understand that the selections to follow are based not on what I think will occur, but on what I believe should happen. This is an opinion editorial and is not a prediction.*
In deciding who will be the starters for team USA, one has to understand the multiple elements of play that will come into consideration. The coaching staff will have their favorites and will understandably select the players who they are most comfortable with. That comfort level typically is found in current teammates, divisional opponents, and current/former players. This will all be taken into consideration in the creation of the current Olympic roster for Team USA.
The Detroit Red Wings, who actually boasted a power play worse than the Flyers, put on a clinic with the man-advantage and it paid off.
Detroit scored three power play goals and absolutely dominated a slow and sloppy Flyers team, 5-2, Saturday in Detroit. The Flyers gave up seven power play opportunities and it killed momentum much of the game.
The Red Wings got three-point efforts from four of their players. Nicklas Kronwall (goal, two assists), Pavel Datsyuk (goal, two assists), Henrik Zetterberg (two goals, assist) and Daniel Alfredsson (three assists) all put on star performances.
(Photo: Flyers winger Tye McGinn tries to play a puck in the first. AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
Scoring is once again a problem for the Flyers, who have managed six goals in the first five games -- they have just one multi-goal game, a 2-1 win against Florida on Tuesday. Riding off of another disappointing 2-1 loss to Phoenix last night, the Flyers will travel to Detroit for the second half of a back-to-back.
The Blackhawks got off to a solid start in game six, the kind that won them game five. Marian Hossa got a power play goal just 3:53 into the first to give them a leg up. Chicago was controlling the puck, pressuring the Red Wings, and outshooting Detroit.
Patrick Eaves tied it up by putting the Red Wings on the board with just 1:09 left in the first.
Chicago let the Red Wings dictate the pace of the game in the second. Detroit drew even on shots on goal, then by the end of the period, were outshooting the Blackhawks 28-20. The Red Wings also owned the faceoff dot through two, at 65%.
In Saturday's game, it was said that by the time the Blackhawks were u...
Coach Joel Quenneville knew that something had to be done to get the Blackhawks back on track for the series, so he started out with a change on who took the first faceoff. Michael Handzus took the first faceoff of the game on the first line spot usually reserved for Jonathan Toews.
The Blackhawks made a much better start to the game than they had in the past two, spending more time in the Red Wings' zone and getting back to the style of puck possession that they prefer, instead of constantly chasing down the opposition. Additionally, the Detroit defense kept making bad turnovers at the beginning of the game. Things were looking good for Chicago.
After the outcome of game three, the reports of the demise of the Detroit Red Wings were grossly underestimated.
The Chicago Blackhawks knew going in that the Red Wings were going to do whatever they could to get them off of their game. Detroit's strategy working thus far. The Red Wings beat the Blackhawks 3-1 to take a decisive 2-1 lead in the best of seven Western Conference semifinal.
Game three was a much chippier affair. Both teams combined for 12 penalties. Seven of which were committed by the Blackhawks. Detroit continued to w...