GAME DAY REPORT: Five Reasons why the Preds are Destroying the Hawks.
How many of you picked the Preds over the Hawks in round one? Now…how many of you predicted a 3-0 series lead for the Preds? Pretty unthinkable, right? Well…here we are in that exact situation.
The Chicago Blackhawks have put forth a feeble effort so far in their first round series against the Nashville Predators and unless they conduct a major overhaul in their play for the next four games, they’ll flame out of the playoffs in remarkable fashion. So, how’d they get in this spot in the first place? Here are the top five reasons:
1. The JOFA Line - The Preds top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson has victimized the Hawks so far in the series by dominating puck possession at 5 on 5 play and putting up a combined 11 points in just 3 games.
2. Aging back end - Once the strength of the Blackhawks, it’s defence corps isn’t getting any younger. The team can’t reasonably rely on Duncan Keith to play half the game anymore and Brent Seabrook is clearly not the player he was 5 years ago.
3. Kane and Toews invisible - With a combined 2 points in 3 games, Hawks superstars Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews have not been difference makers in the series. If they aren’t contributing, the Hawks are sunk.
4. Supporting staff gone - This goes hand-in-hand with Kane and Toews. Because of their hefty contracts, general manager Stan Bowman has been forced to jettison supporting players like Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp and Andrew Ladd. After years of avoiding the pinch, it’s now catching up to the Hawks.
5. Pekka Rinne on his game – Sometimes a hot goalie is all a team needs to perform an upset. While that’s not exactly the case in this series, the Predators net minder has silenced his critics by posting back-back shutouts to start the series.
Do the Blackhawks have it in them to come back against the Predators? Most fans aren’t betting on them, but remember that they did come back from down 3-0 in 2011 to force a Game 7 agains the Vancouver Canucks. However, ask yourself…did the Hawks have to contend with the 5 reasons above when taking on the Canucks? Is this the end of an era?