This is the tipping point of beard growth. I’m about to cross over into Grizzly Adams territory. My fiancee has started complaining about it, too. She’s a champ though. She knows what’s at stake. Plus, it might be like having a new man around the house in about 4 weeks when these playoffs are done.
The Blackhawks did a lot of good things in Game 1. I said to myself that they need to take advantage of Anaheim’s turnovers and get 1 or 2 on the board while they had the edge in play. Alas, it didn’t happen. The Ducks’ goalie Frederick Andersen made some great saves, including a prayer with his stick on Patrick Kane, and they survived the first half of the game which the Hawks dominated in every category except the most important one: goals.
Anaheim was just more opportunistic in Game 1. A couple of mistakes by the Blackhawks defense, especially by David Rundblad (more like Rund-bad), led to a 2-0 lead late in the 2nd period and the Ducks were able to hold on. You couldn’t expect much out of Rundblad, considering it was his first game action in a month. Rundblad was better in the 2nd half of the game, but it sounds like Q is switching things up by going with Kyle Cumiskey in Game 2. Hopefully Cumiskey doesn’t experience the panic that afflicted Rundblad and led to those scoring chances for the Ducks.
My main concern going forward is the lack of ice time that Q is giving his bottom two defensemen. Kimmo Timonen only played 5+ minutes the whole game while Rundblad got about 10. If Rundblad was so bad he isn’t playing in Game 2, how did he get more ice time than Timonen? Yes, Timonen is 40 and didn’t play for the first 5 months of the season, but what good is keeping him in the lineup if he isn’t going to be out there. I thought Q might give Rundblad at least a second game to get his feet under him. Maybe he’s thinking of sitting Timonen at some point.
I’m still confident about this series, though. All four of the Blackhawks’ forward lines played pretty well and had plenty of chances to score. Anaheim’s goalie was the difference in Game 1. Hopefully Game 1 was just a feeling out process for the Hawks and we’ll see more from their stars. Kane and Jonathan Toews only had one shot on net apiece, so they need to find a way to make more of a difference. I’m starting to get disappointed with the play of Bryan Bickell. Remember when he was a stud during the playoffs? That was awesome.
I still don’t think the Ducks have the forward depth to keep up through 7 games. Sure, it was Anaheim’s 3rd line that came through for them in Game 1, but their 4th line was almost nonexistent. For as much as was said about the depth of the Hawks’ blueliners, I still think the Hawks 4 forward lines are eventually going to wear Anaheim out. The Hawks did a lot of good things in Game 1 and played well overall, so it would be nice to see them come home with the series tied 1-1 and get the Ducks running around trying to hit people rather than attacking.
Another late night watching playoff hockey. At least it makes sense since they’re playing on the West Coast. It’s better than starting at 8:30 like they were in the first two rounds. What else would you rather be doing tonight? LET’S GO HAWKS!!!