The Blackhawks are not playing as well as they did during last year’s playoff victories over Calgary and Vancouver.
One factor is Dave Bolland is still attempting to regain his form after missing much of the season due to back surgery. The other significant reason is Brain Campbell is out with injuries and his loss has been felt.
The good news is the Hawks can overcome those issues and defeat the Nashville Predators. This series could still be completed quickly, possibly in five games, with a Chicago victory tonight. The Blackhawks can then take a giant step forward in becoming a favorite to win the Western Conference title.
Every other so called Stanley Cup favorite in the West is behind in their playoff series two games to one. With a victory in Nashville the Hawks will take the series lead and could close out the Predators on Saturday afternoon at the United Center.
If San Jose, Vancouver and Detroit are to survive until the next round they will have to play at least a six game series.
It may not sound like much of a difference but the extra time to rest would be a big advantage for the Blackhawks, especially considering the Campbell injury.
If the Hawks could win tonight and eliminate Nashville on Saturday, they would have the opportunity to rest and also get in some high tempo practices. Then Campbell would have a better chance to return in the next series as a more effective player.
It would be unreasonable to believe Campbell will be 100% as soon as he returns. But with the right playoff schedule he would be closer to top speed toward the end of the next series.
If all things fall into place maybe the Hawks could be playing their best hockey when it will count the most, in the later rounds of the playoffs.
But to have a chance to control the series Chicago will have to be ready for their toughest test tonight. Nashville should come out with a more determined effort so a victory won’t be easy.
Some believe the Blackhawks are a true Stanley Cup contender.
If so this would be the time to seize an opportunity to be in the best position to succeed.
I don’t comment on many rumors but….
Did The Blackhawks Standby Club really offer a cash reward for information leading to the whereabouts of defenseman Kim Johnsson?
Campbell was walking around in the press box on Sunday and he looks great in a suit. He said he was able to sleep better, which is important, and he was feeling good.
My guess is Campbell will be back within two weeks.
Has any big name Canadian Olympian performed poorer than Roberto Luongo since the break?
It will be interesting which young goalie will let post season pressure get the best of him.
Antti Niemi needs to stay on a roll and it would be great for the Hawks if Pekka Rinne started to slip.
Rinne has been very good and was big reason for Nashville’s Game 1 win.
For the Red Wings sake Jimmy Howard needs to play better.
Injuries in the playoffs will also come into play.
The Coyotes would really miss Shane Doan if he was out for an extended period.
Doan is thought to have a shoulder injury and could miss tonight’s game.
So far the Hawks have not sustained a serious injury in the playoffs, and they really can’t afford any.
Injury updates for Game 3.
Tweeted by the Tribune’s Chris Kuc from Nashville….
Patrick Hornqvist will be a game time decision for Nashville.
I didn’t touch upon the significance of his loss for the Preds in Game 2. He probably is their biggest offensive threat.
Brian Campbell is still out but getting closer according to Chris, and Kim Johnsson is still not skating.
It looks like Campbell could be back before the end of this series especially if it goes past Game 5.
Expect the same lineup for the Hawks which means no Adam Burish or Nick Boynton.
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