TD Garden, Boston
The Blackhawks travel to Boston to face off against the Bruins tonight at the TD Garden. This will be the first time that both teams will have played each other this season. In their two appearances in the previous season, they split wins going 1-1. The Bruins are off to a solid start to their season with 52 points and tied for second in their conference. In their last 10 games, they are 4-4-2 and have lost the last 2 games. Their most recent game was a 6-5 shootout loss, in which they had a 3-0 lead. Claude Julien is on the hot seat, though, after coaching the last 3 seasons without a playoff appearance. I think the Bruins are a little quick to the trigger with thoughts of firing Julien. He has been the Bruins head coach for the past 10 seasons, 7 of which they have made it past the regular season. Also, he has brought the cup home to Boston back in the 2010-11 season. I think it would be dumb and disrespectful to fire Julien midseason. at least wait and see if they don’t make the playoffs. Tuukka Rask is in net for the Bruins tonight, winning 22 of 37 appearances. He has also managed to have a 2.11 goals against average which is incredibly solid. Although Tuukka has been solid in net, Brad Marchand is the player to watch for the Bruins tonight. In his last 5 games, he has managed 10 points, scoring 4 goals and adding 6 assists. His total points on the season is the team high 45.
The Blackhawks, on the other hand, are coming off of a high-scoring 6-4 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Although the Hawks are 1-2 in their last three contests, they were on a 4 game winning streak before then. Younger guys like Vince Hinostroza and Tanner Kero both stepped up to the plate in the game against the Avalanche, scoring 2 goals each. It’s great to see the 3rd and 4th lines contributing to a Hawks win. Whenever the 3rd and 4th lines are applying pressure, it helps takes some of the weight off of the Toews and Kane line. Quenneville decided to toss Scott Darling in net for tonight’s game. In his last appearance against the Hurricanes, he only managed to let in 1 off of 40 shots. Hopefully, the Hawks can continue their offensive pressure and grab a win on their “Dad’s Roadtrip.”
Player To Watch – Entire 3rd Line
Instead of having one player to watch tonight, I have 3. The Blackhawks 3rd line tonight consists of, Hinostroza, Kero, and Hossa. All three of these hawks put up a combined 7 points in the last game, 7! That’s insane! Quenneville is looking to put some heavy pressure in the back of their lineup to hopefully wear out this Avalanche team.
Keys To The Game
- Faceoffs – The Blackhawks have been struggling lately at the faceoff circle. Winning only 23 of 60, they need to better. Faceoff wins can generate offensive opportunities in Colorado zone, and it can cause fewer offensive opportunities for the Avalanche.
- Pressure the Puck – The Hawks only managed to lay the body 6 times in their last appearance, while their opponent laid the body 26 times. If the Hawks want more takeaways they either need to pressure the puck and force the opposition to make a play.
- Defense – Finally, the Blackhawks need to prevent the Avalanche from creating offensive opportunities in our zone. It all starts with defense. Preventing shots, and transitioning the puck out of the defensive zone will be, as our recently inaugurated President would say, hyuuuugggee.
Hartman – Toews – Panik
Panarin – Anisimov – Kane
Hinostroza – Kero – Hossa
Rasmussen – Schmaltz – Tootoo
Keith – Hjalmarsson
Kempny – Seabrook
Van Riemsdyk – Rozsival
Let’s get a Hawks win tonight boys!