Playoff Threeview: St. Louis & Chicago

by J.R.

CIII2. Blues 52-23-7 (111 points, 2nd in Conference III) vs. CIII3. Blackhawks (46-21-15, 107 points, 3rd in Conference III)

Season Series— Blues 3-2

LeadersBlues: Alexander Steen (33G, 29A, 62 Points, 9 GWG), Alex Pietrangelo (43A), David Backes (10 PPG); Blackhawks: Patrick Sharp (34G, 44A, 78 Points, 10 PPG), Patrick Kane (10 PPG, 6 GWG), Ben Smith (15.6% shooting)

Probable Goalies: Blues: Ryan Miller (25-30-4, .918, 2.64); Blackhawks: Corey Crawford (32-16-12, .917, 2.26)

Words & Music

“I can guarantee you right now that everybody that was out (Sunday), at some period of time, they’re going to be in… The one difference the last ten days has made for us, the only difference, is that we have to adjust our schedule. We may need more rest than work to get back focused again. That part is what it is.” – Ken Hitchcock via KMOV.

These two just love each other so much. “Die Die My Darling” by Misfits.

Locks & Keys

St. Louis lost six straight to end the season and skid into second as the schedule sorcery and injuries combined into an unholy potion. Chicago played through the string without Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.

In a bound-t0-be-brutal series, carrying all the weight of a inter-city rivalry that goes back decades, whichever team can either get healthy quickest or overcome nagging injuries best has the advantage.

But don’t undersell it: these are two very good teams and this is only the second time in which two 107-point-plus foes will meet in the first round (The Preds-Sharks series of 2007 was the first).

The Blackhawks were very, very good in regulation, but only notched one overtime win, which is incredible considering the skill and speed they can trot out to take advantage of the open ice of a 4-on-4. Of course, that doesn’t matter in the playoffs, barring someone actually calling a penalty in the playoffs (lol).

Speaking of special teams (I guess): the Blues were top 10 both with the advantage and while playing down. The Blackhawks struggled at times on the kill, as a Frolik- and Bolland-less bottom-six worked through some growing pains.

Call & Response

As I said Tuesday, I like the Hawks in five, because Ryan Miller’s been sorta [makes that wishy-washy hand motion] and because Hitchcock’s hedge on when his injured players will return makes me nervous. The Guardian likes the Blues in six and misspelling.