Beware the Ides of March.. actually beware of this whole month: Blackhawks Preview for March
Sorry again for getting this up late - February is just too damn short and I didn't prepare to get this up and now we've already played one game in March. I'll be sure to get the April one up before the month starts especially since it's a short month til the regular season ends.
March is definitely upon us though - We're now in the home strech of the regular season in every sense of the phrase. Not only is this the last full month of games before the playoffs start but the Hawks also have a very nice home schedule for the rest of the way.
After a road-trip from hell and only 3 games at the UC the Hawks will only go on the road three times this month for 4 games. The Hawks have struggled a bit at home recently (they only won 1 of those 3 home game last month) but hopefully after last night's win they can recapture the home ice advantage. The sell-out streak continues this year and I can only imagine it's going to get louder every game til the season ends.
Don't expect this month to be easy on the Hawks though. They'll face off with 3 division leaders this month. A road trip to Boston coming up is going to be a great game and later in the month they'll play the Devils and the Sharks. The final full month sees the Hawks playing the Kings (who we know put up a good fight against the Hawks) then the Sharks and Devils. So this is no cake-walk..
The Hawks can make a big statement this month if they can return to something closer to their December than their January. The team is still young and learning so keep an eye out for players getting tired as the season drags to a close. It should be fun..
Hit the link below for the numbers this month.
Home Games: 11
Road Games: 4
Avg. points of opponents: 71
Central Division Games: 2 - both against the Blue Jackets
Teams the Hawks have NOT already played this year: 4 (Hurricanes, Islanders, Devils, Canadiens)
Record against teams they HAVE played: 12-6-2
Longest Road Trip: Only 2 games (Back-to-Back against Devils and BJs)
Sets of Back-to-back Games: Technically one (see above) but they play the Canadiens on the 31st and the Blues on the 1st of April.. so two.. in a way.
Games to look forward to: There are a couple games this month to circle on your calender. This upcoming game on Saturday against the Bruins is obviously pretty big. The Bruins are one of the surprise teams this year and have been destroying everyone. The Hawks took them to a shootout back in November but didn't get the win. Any time you get two of the best teams facing each other it's exciting. Throw in the fact that this is the first game for the Hawks after the trade deadline and it's even better. Keep an eye on Boston over at Stanley Cup of Chowder though because rumors are saying Pronger is headed there and having him and Chara on the ice at the same time is frightening for a small team like the Hawks
The two games against the Devils should also be pretty exciting games. They've been another hot team this year and are currently on top of the Atlantic Division. They had a great month in February with a 8-4 record. In Lou We Trust has a great February wrap up that should give you an idea of what we're in for with those two games.
I don't think I have to tell anyone the game against San Jose at the end of the month is something to look forward to. The Sharks have a tendency to dominate the Hawks but that was all broken the last time the two teams met (remember that one? Where 3-4 minutes of hockey was played and the Hawks scored only to have the whole thing wiped out because of a high stick?). The Hawks went on to win the game 4-2 in what was arguably the best game of hockey the men of four feathers have played all year. The Hawks have played the Sharks extremely tough this year and all 3 games have been incredibly exciting. This is the game I'm most looking forward to this month for sure.
To wrap up the month, the Hawks head to Montreal to face the train-wreck that is the Canadiens this year. They had huge plans for their 100 year anniversary and things were going well to start the season off - but Les Habitants ran into some trouble both in the standings and with the law and were in danger of missing the playoffs for a while. They're back on pace now though and at the moment have a 4 game win streak going. Original 6 match-ups are always worth watching and this is no exception.
On pace for:
Record of: 47-23-12 (106 Points - most since the '92-93 season)
Most goals: Jonathan Toews - 35 goals (with his current streak though watch for him to exceed that)
Most points: Patrick Kane - 78 points. Watch for Havlat though who is one point behind him but with a few more games played.
Most PIM: Ben Eager - 174 PIM. It's really not even close this year, Eager has almost double the PIM of 2nd place Burish.
Most hits: Brent Seabrook - 200. Buff is still close behind him but since he actually played a real game yesterday expect him to take the rest of the month off.