Game Time: 6:00PM
TV/Radio: WGN and NHLN/WGN720
Gimme Gimme Shock Treatment: Raw Charge
With only 5 games remaining the Blackhawks once again are almost inexplicably facing another Eastern Conference team, this time being our old spin-o-rama loving friends from Tampa Bay. I'm sure you need to reminder of the last time these two teams met but I'll give you one anyway. The Hawks had just had their 8-game winning streak by the Florida Panthers and should have come out looking for redemption. Instead we got a relatively back and forth affair and of course, some absolute nonsense from the zebras. Oh, we also saw the attempted murder of Dave Bolland as Pavel Kubina decided to give him the people's elbow to the back of the skull. Kubina served his time and has returned to the line up. It'll be interesting to see if any of the Hawks actual challenge him.
The Bolts have been a streaky team of late, they looked to have a division title within reach but a four game losing streak handed that over to the Capitals. Of course, they've coming storming back (get it? Lightning? Storming? Yeah... fuck you too) and have responded to dropping four in a row by winning their last four. Most recently they've ensured the Wild will be golfing in a little over a week with a 3-1 victory. Things are close though... if the Bolts lose in regulation tonight, the Southleast division title will belong to the Capitals. So the Hawks have a chance to play spoiler while also solidifying their chances.
Personnel-wise, the Lightning are still being led by wunderkid Steve Stamkos who has only recently ceded the league lead it goals to all-around dickbag Corey Perry. He's obviously still a constant threat though and will find any soft ice you give him and will likely bury any one-timer in his reach... so don't give him any. As if Stamkos wasn't enough, there's also guys like Martin St. Louis to worry about. He's got three straight games with a goal and has reached 30 goals for 6 straight seasons now. On the blue line the Bolts have size but not a lot of speed. Marc-Andre Bergeron is a threat on the power play but they still don't have a true puck mover. Dwayne Roloson got the start yesterday in Minnesota meaning the Hawks will face back-up Mike Smith, he of the .888 Sv% and 3.10 GAA.
We know the Blackhawks were lucky to come away with two on Friday night and evidently so do they. Quotes from the team after the game indicate they know they got lucky but who knows how that'll translate into today's game. This team says all the right things but hasn't quite lived up to that whole "walk the walk" bit yet. They're still mired in this win one lose one trend which needs to be snapped tonight. Calgary and Dallas are both right on the edge of a cliff and just need a little push. Both will play later tonight as well so there will be plenty of scoreboard watching going on. Not many of the Hawks have been playing particularly well lately so there's not a whole lot to mention. It makes even worse when the men of four feathers aren't playing well.. but playing a ton. The TOI is almost comical right now and won't make anything easier come playoff times. It's unfortunate this late in the season but right now they just need to take things slow and get their heads (and legs) right... baby steps.
Lets Go Hawks