Sorry for the delay in getting this up but I was too invested in watching the end of the Capitals-Canadiens game and then Nucks-Kings game. Overtime in the playoffs is always more exciting than you remember it, isn't it?
McClure covered the top lines earlier today (or yesterday I guess) so now it's time for the grinders. These lines may not put up the points, JP Dumont leads the way with 45, but they'll be doing their best to keep the Hawks talent frustrated... or just hurting.
Jordin Tootoo - Dustin Boyd - J.P. Dumont
#22 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators
Feb 02, 1983
|2009 - Jordin Tootoo||51||6||10||16||2||40||0||0||1||0||101||5.9|
#14 / Center / Nashville Predators
Jul 16, 1986
|2009 - Dustin Boyd||78||11||13||24||6||19||0||0||3||0||112||9.8|
#71 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators
Apr 01, 1978
|2009 - J.P. Dumont||74||17||28||45||8||20||3||1||3||0||112||15.2|
While the top line for the Preds will annoy us with two Hawk killers.. the third line will just annoy us with the play of Tootoo and Boyd. This is the line that will be putting big pressure on the defensemen, testing their ability to work against a strong forecheck. We all know that Tootoo is the easiest person to hate on Nashville's squad and it's not only because he has a face that you really just want to punch. He'll hit everything that comes close to him and get under the skin of just about anyone he can. He's missed a lot of time this year with a foot injury but still is second on the team for hits by a forward. Dustin Boyd has only played 18 games for the Predators after being traded to the team from the Flames. He has potential to be more of a second line player but for now will be focusing on the Preds zone. Dumont will provide the old man veteran presence on this line - he's got over 500 points for his career but has been dropping since a career high 72 points in 07-08. These three won't likely be going up against the Hawks strongest lines but will cause headaches whenever they can. The experiment of Dustin Byfuglien back at defense could show its fault lines as these guys will be hitting him at every chance.
Joel Ward - David Legwand - Jerred Smithson
#29 / Right Wing / Nashville Predators
Dec 02, 1980
|2009 - Joel Ward||71||13||21||34||-5||18||3||1||1||0||134||9.7|
#11 / Center / Nashville Predators
Aug 17, 1980
|2009 - David Legwand||82||11||27||38||-5||24||0||1||3||0||151||7.3|
#25 / Left Wing / Nashville Predators
Feb 04, 1979
|2009 - Jerred Smithson||69||9||4||13||-4||54||0||2||1||0||54||16.7|
These are the guys we're going to see on the ice against the top lines for the Blackhawks. They have the highest QUALCOMP rating for anyone on the Predators squad. Just like the third line - these guys are going to be absolute pests to anyone in a Hawks sweater trying to bring the puck out of their zone. None of them are that strong offensively so they won't match the production we've seen from the Hawks fourth line. Instead, these guys are all quick strong forwards who can cover their asses in their own zone. These three will also be out for the Preds in some form on every penalty kill. Basically, they're the Nashville answer to the VERSTEEG!-Madden-Ladd combo without the occasional offense that the Hawks squad can get from someone like Kris or Ladd. I'm not sure what the Hawks can do to really counter these guys than simply play better hockey (that simple, eh?). They're strong... but they're not unbeatable. The Hammer of the Gods line has been on the verge of putting up an other worldly amount of points any game now so it could just be a matter of time before they just make another team look foolish.