And so we begin our quest for the playoffs. Even if right now it seems like Toews is pretty much dragging the entire team there against their will. Deadweight be damned.
Its been said recently that the Hawks really only seem to play up to the level of their competition. They beat out San Jose and New Jersey, but play like shit against weaker teams.
That could explain how this team is 1-2-2 against this Blues squad and why you should look forward to tonight's match up. You see... The Blues really sucked earlier this year. They were at the bottom of the West. Before one victory against the Hawks, the Blues had lost 6 games in a row. Hence, the Hawks lose to them.
Now however, the Blues are actually a pretty damn impressive team. They've gone 9-4-1 in March and have been challenging for a playoff spot. With the Blues playing like a top team, the Hawks will have no choice but to play them like a top team which favors the Hawks.
So this will be the second game in which Toews plays a former teammate. Last night saw Toews match up with Carey Price who he won the World Junior Championship with in 2007, which was a fucking great job. You might remember thier warm greatings from last night that include Toews knocking Price to the ice (flop) and Price punching Toews in the back of the head shortly before Sharp got called for interference.
Oshie and Toews were close friends and linemates while playing for the Fighting Sioux. Toews will have a height and weight advantage in any collision of the two.. but so did Nash. Both players don't seem to take care for the other team though so I wouldn't be surprised to see some hits between the two.
The Blues have won 5 in a row coming into tonight and haven't played since Sunday in Columbus. They've given the Hawks nothing but trouble all year and Chris Mason hasn't allowed a goal against the Hawks in the last two games and should be getting his 28th straight start tonight. That's great news for a team that has only scored one goal in the past two games, yeah?
We saw the reuniting of the line all of us have wanted to see for a long time with Daydream Nation skating with Sharp, but with Bolland out it's really anyone's guess as to who Q will throw out there. Walker's also back which is great news for St. Louis.
It's also anyone's guess as to how this game will turn out. The Hawks skated hard and didn't look terrible for another game but there were some bad breaks. The main problem with the Canucks game was a lack of traffic in front of Luongo, that changed in last night's game for the most part (see: Toews getting punched and Sharp's goal) but they'll need more of it with better shots if they want to solve this Mason problem. The Hawks need to pick up the play in the defensive zone and look to adapt their play if the Blues shut out their preferred game plan.
It'll be no surprise that the Blues will come out of this game well rested and looking to hit the Hawks hard - that's been their strategy all year against the Hawks. The games have been physical matches and at least in the last two, low scoring as well. The Hawks can't give up an easy goal to start the game or it's only going to get ugly.
Lets Go Hawks
UPDATE: Here are your lines for tonight
Eager - Toews - Kane
Byfuglien - Sharp - VERSTEEG!
Ladd - Pahlsson - Havlat
??? - Fraser - Burish
Keith - Seabrook
Hjalmarsson - Campbell
Barker - Johnson/Walker