Know Thy Enemy: Chicago Forward Preview

May 15, 2015 - table lamp

Line Combinations

courtesy of

Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsMarian Hossa

Bryan BickellBrad RichardsPatrick Kane

Patrick SharpAntoine VermetteTeuvo Teravainen

Andrew DesjardinsMarcus KrugerAndrew Shaw



How Did Their Season Go?

The 2014-15 deteriorate for a Chicago Blackhawks has been a rather astonishing one, to contend a least. After signing Brad Richards to a one-year contract, many suspicion that Chicago was going to run divided with a built Central Division en track to their third Stanley Cup in 5 years. The former unfolding didn’t go according to plan, as a Windy City member found themselves fighting to keep gait with a pretender Nashville Predators for a division’s tip spot. Their bid for a #1 seed took a vital strike usually after a mid indicate of a year when heading scorer Patrick Kane suffered an damage that compulsory medicine and kept him off a ice for a residue of a unchanging season. With Nashville and a St. Louis Blues above them, and a surging Minnesota Wild on their six, a Hawks were even in legitimate risk of slipping to a furious label mark during a home stretch. They hold on to a Central’s third spot, though, and finished a unchanging deteriorate brief of many expectations.

Chicago’s goals per diversion normal was shockingly mediocre, finishing 17th in a NHL with 2.68 G/GP, nonetheless that array becomes many reduction underwhelming when we remember that Kane missed a final 20 games of a unchanging season, and a fact that during a time of his damage Kane was a heading scorer in a NHL. To a Hawks’ credit, their opening in talent serve down a register isn’t overwhelmingly spaced out. In other words, while many teams have a few go-to scorers (Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler), and a vast drop-off between them and a subsequent many prolific guys, Chicago’s skip that beast indicate inconsistency between any one actor and a subsequent one adult or down from them, creation their abyss all a some-more effective. Captain Jonathan Toews led his organisation with 66 points (28 goals and 38 assists). Although he played intensely fewer games, Patrick Kane was right behind him with one fewer idea and assist.

How Has Their Playoff Run Gone?

Thanks in partial to a astonishing early lapse of Kane, a Hawks have blown by a initial dual rounds roughly as good as a Ducks have. After carrying some early difficulty with a Predators, Chicago took advantage of Shea Weber‘s early exit from a array and overcame some dicey play from their goaltenders to finally finish Nashville off in 6 games.

Round 2 opposite Minnesota, a organisation with a best record in a joining from Jan on, led by a brave Devan Dubnyk, was suspicion by many to be a tough one for a Hawks. Instead, Chicago resolutely reinforced their position as a Wild’s personal executioners after winning a array en track to a 4-0 victory, a third uninterrupted year that they have separated their local rivals from a playoffs. Patrick Kane illuminated a flare 5 times in a sweep, and with a approach his organisation has been looking lately, it’s satisfactory to contend that a Blackhawks have gotten themselves behind into playoff form after a unsure start.

Stats vs. Ducks

2015 Playoff Stats

Top Three Threats to Anaheim

1) Patrick Kane. After pang a shoulder damage in February, Kane was ostensible to be suspended until a commencement of this round. Not usually did he lapse weeks progressing than approaching for Game 1 opposite a Nashville Predators, nonetheless he never even missed a kick when returning to his goal-scoring ways. He has as many goals as Corey Perry in usually one some-more playoff game, and his indicate sum sits usually dual assists behind a Anaheim winger. Kane is now on a idea strain somewhat some-more considerable than Matt Beleskey‘s five-game bender; he scored a idea in each diversion during Chicago’s second turn brush of a Minnesota Wild, and including his twine-tickler in a wilful Game 6 opposite Nashville, he has scored 6 goals in a final 5 games. He’s on glow right now, and a fact that he has potted 4 some-more pucks in a three-game camber opposite a Ducks this year doesn’t palliate any concerns. Keeping him still will be intensely difficult, nonetheless intensely necessary.

2) Rested offense. The Hawks will be entrance off a 9 day rest duration when a puck drops on Sunday afternoon in Orange County. They’re recuperated, and each singular one of their forwards are healthy. This isn’t an advantage disdainful to Chicago; a Ducks are in good figure themselves, nonetheless it doesn’t change a fact that battling Kane, Toews, and friends during their best isn’t a fun charge for any organisation to take on. Add a fact that a Hawk dais is arguably deeper than Anaheim’s, and all of a sudden, you’re staring down a organisation of 10-12 guys that need your ‘A’ diversion each night.

3) Experience. The Ducks have 5 players who have been this low in a playoffs before: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Francois Beauchemin when Anaheim hoisted a Cup in 2007, Ryan Kesler with a Vancouver Canucks in 2011, and Nate Thompson as a member of a Tampa Bay Lightning in that same year. For a Blackhawks, however, this is not unfamiliar domain to them during all. This is their fifth outing to a NHL’s final 4 in a final 7 years, and even nonetheless a register has undergone changes in that duration of time, they still lift 13 players who can call themselves Stanley Cup Champions. The skip of postseason knowledge was deliberate to be one of a biggest reasons because a Ducks were bounced from a playoffs in a final dual seasons, and nonetheless again, many players wearing an Anaheim jersey haven’t played this low into a deteriorate where a going unequivocally gets tough. The Blackhawks have. A lot.

Top Three Ways to Beat Chicago’s Forwards

1) Send them to a chastisement box. It’s not like sketch penalties on a other organisation is ever a bad thing, nonetheless with how both teams’ special teams have been looking via a playoffs, it could infer to be Chicago’s undoing. Taking a actor out of a manly Chicago offense for dual mins will, exclusive a foolish pass/shot, temporarily shake them off Anaheim’s back. More importantly, though, a resisting special teams that are iced in eventuality of a Chicago chastisement heavily preference one organisation in particular. The Ducks’ energy play has pulled a 180 from a unchanging season, and now boasts a best success rate of a postseason during a crazy 31%. The Blackhawks’ chastisement kill, on a other hand, hasn’t had a best go in their 10 diversion run. They’ve managed to vacate usually 72.7% of a calls that have left opposite them in this tournament, and unfortunately for Chicago, a descent firepower that they’ll be fending off whenever one of their possess gets sent off is many stronger than that of Nashville’s or Minnesota’s.

2) Play SoCal hockey. The Ducks have turn a some-more offensively-gifted chronicle of a Los Angeles Kings: a organisation that’s not fearful to severe their opponents adult while creation use of peculiarity puck possession. Anaheim now sits during a 55.1% Fenwick For percentage, while a Hawks route behind by a bit during 48.7%. Correlation competence not indispensably indicate causation here due to a disproportion in opposition, nonetheless a Ducks also occur to have a improved shot differential as well, outgunning Winnipeg and Calgary by 7.2 shots per game. Chicago sits 4.2 shots per diversion in a red.

Slight side note for those who are a small confused, given we here during AC use this stat in literally each Gamethread: Fenwick measures a organisation or individual’s shots on idea and unblocked shot attempts that skip a net. The Fenwick For (FF) commission can be found by this equation: FF / (FF+Fenwick Against). The aloft a FF percentage, a some-more peculiarity shots a organisation or particular is removing while, during a same time, suppressing their opponents’. Make sense?

The Kings used their complement to their advantage to discharge a Blackhawks in final year’s Western Final in 7 games. While a Ducks are not a Kings, their styles have still turn some-more identical as of late, so hopefully Anaheim can make their chronicle of play work opposite Chicago like their neighbors adult north did final year. Since a dual offenses are allied in many respects, progressing a advantage in puck possession is crucial. Whether a Ducks make it occur by knocking a Hawks off a puck, or Chicago takes control with vital dispatching of their different lines stays to be seen. What we do know for sure, though, is that Chicago has nonetheless to go adult opposite a organisation that flexes their flesh utterly like Anaheim does, and a Ducks will be squaring off opposite what is simply a many gifted core organisation of forwards they’ve seen in a playoffs.

3) Maintain a two-way defensive play. The Duck blueliners have been removing some well-deserved courtesy for a descent punch they’ve been bringing to a table. The 29 points from a Anaheim backend are tops among invulnerability corps in a playoffs, nonetheless they’ve also been doing a good pursuit gloomy hostile attacks as well. Goalie Frederik Andersen has seen over 30 shots in usually one diversion during this postseason, due intensely to his defenders next during violation adult section entries before a offense has time to get set and soon relocating a puck a other way. They’ll face a many stiffer exam via this series, nonetheless if a invulnerability can keep adult that flexibility they’ve shown in a final dual rounds, that competence usually infer to be a categorical X-factor if this matchup starts to come down to something like a Perry/Getzlaf vs. Kane/Toews firefight.

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