First thoughts on the series – NBC Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks took full advantage of their opportunities in Edmonton as they advanced to the Stanley Cup playoffs, but now the road gets tougher as they take on the top-seeded Vegas Golden Knights in the Western Conference quarterfinal.

The Golden Knights, who finished 3–0 in round robin play against the other top three teams in the West, are a formidable squad with a strong Golgappe, a deep and talented forward group, and a blue line full of ready and capable players. . To steer objectionable property when necessary.

That meditative group is headlined by the two-headed monster of Marc-Andre Fleury and Robin Lehner, who are very familiar to Blackhawks fans, as they played 33 games in Chicago this season before being traded to the Golden Knights in February Were.

Lehner started two of the three matches played in round robin play, and although Vegas head coach Pete DeBoer has not named a starter for the series, it appears that Lehner will have to face his former team There will be an inside track to do when the playoffs begin this week.

On the defensive side, the Golden Knights are a team with a lot of depth and talent, but the group is in the headlines by players who can make plays on the offensive side of the ice. Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore are two of the Golden Knights ‘most productive players offensively, and also fit the teams’ most talented because of their ability to stretch the ice and maintain pressure for the forward as they set up their offense Let’s try.

The high level of engagement by the Blue Liners creates a lot of opportunities for the team’s forward group, and they have one of the deepest groups of forwards in the league, with players such as Max Pactorieti, Mark Stone and William Carlson all having Provide adequate scoring skills. Club.

The Golden Knights finished out of the top 10 in the league, both goals scored per game and goals scored per game, but make no mistake: this is a group that can score goals in bunches and scoring dries. The ability to persevere through their top-tier player, unlike the top-heavy Edmonton Oilers squad that the Blackhawks knocked out.

In terms of weaknesses, there is one important area for Vegas to keep an eye on: their penalty kill. While the Oilers had the best penalty, TI killing units this season, the Golden Knights had one of the worst, with 80.8% of their power plays being dealt. In fact, only one team was still eligible for postseason contention, a worse penalty than the Golden Knights, with the Toronto Maple Leafs still facing an elimination game against Columbus.

This could be an area where the Blackhawks could potentially do some damage, as they showed some progress on the power play in Games 1 and 4 of their series with Edmonton. If Dominic Kubalik and Jonathan Toze can continue their strong play, then the man-advantage could be a major advantage for the Blackhawk squad in the hunt for a big upset.

That upset could also be helped by Corey Crawford, as the netminder played his best game to win over Edmonton in the 4th edition of the game on Friday. If Crawford, who is still recovering after missing most of training camp with the coronovirus, is able to find his form, the Golden Knights may be in for a tough challenge, as proven playoff performers fight their club. Can help give chance. postseason.

Ultimately, Blackhawk faces a tough climb against these Golden Knights, which have been one of the NHL’s most notable stories in their short history in the league. The Blackhawks went 1–1–1 against Vegas during the regular season, and went 1–6–2 in nine all-time meetings, struggling in their all-time series against Vegas.

The NHL is expected to release the first round schedule soon, and the Blackhawks will have the possibility of receiving late-night billing once again from the league. You can find coverage on that announcement, as well as the entire series, here on the NBC 5 Chicago Hockey page.


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