Western Conference Playoffs Round 1 vs. Nashville: Game 4

IMG_0498Maybe I’m just used to it by now, but I like the 5-6 day stubble look on myself. I don’t shave anywhere near as often as I used to. This is mostly because of laziness, also because there is no accountability for the way I look at work. Getting engaged has probably also led to this laziness, but my fiancee is on record saying that she likes the way I look with some stubble. So yeah, that’s my excuse.

Game 3 was a tidy affair. Despite a couple defensive letdowns after the Blackhawks’ first two goals, the Predators didn’t look like they could hang with the Hawks’ top line of Brandon Saad, Jonathan Toews, and Marian Hossa without their top defenseman Shea Weber. Hoss was particularly red-assed in this one. He was all over the place on the backcheck and taking the puck away on defense while driving possession on offense. He even got into it with former teammate Viktor Stalberg. Hossa did get called for what looked like a slew foot during the skirmish, but I don’t mind seeing a pissed off Hossa. He may not have scored, but he played better than any Hawk on Sunday.

Scott Darling played well enough to earn another start in net for Game 4. I think we’ll continue to see Darling for the rest of this series as long as he is playing well and the Blackhawks are winning games. But don’t be surprised to see Q go back to Corey Crawford to start the next series. The numbers seem to favor Darling vs. the Predators, but Crawford has been statistically awesome in his career against Minnesota and St. Louis (the Wild lead their series 2-1), especially last year in the playoffs. I won’t bog you down with numbers on this blog, but take my word for it, Crawford just doesn’t seem to play well vs. NashvilIe.

If the the solid defensive effort from Game 3 makes another appearance tonight, the Blackhawks should be able to go back to Nashville on Thursday night with a nice 3-1 cushion. I better give credit where it is due and say that the Undead Michal Rozsival played a good game. Another good effort and maybe everyone, including myself, will lay off of him for awhile. At least until someone else blows past him because he is more interested in eating brains than stopping someone at the blue line. I’m sure Crawford would like to see his teammates play like that with him in net, so establishing some consistency would be nice for whenever he returns.

I’d also like to see Patrick Kane get the puck a little bit more. He looked frisky in Game 3, like his game is coming back. His line with Brad Richards and Kris Versteeg were right there the whole game. It took a miracle save by Pekka Rinne on Richards to keep them off the board, but I’m expecting a breakout soon. The more Kane has the puck, the more dangerous he becomes and the sooner he shakes off the rust from his stint on injured reserve.

I got a nap in after work to see me through another late playoff start. It does suck to have to stay up late on a weeknight, but priorities, people. Priorities. Make yourself a coffee or drink a Red Bull and tough it out. You’ll sleep well in June knowing you made the sacrifice. LET’S GO HAWKS!!!

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