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Onward; Blackhawks advance to second round

The Chicago Blackhawks dispatched with the Minnesota Wild and it only took five games. While the Blackhawks were the anticipated winners of the series, the Wild did put up a fight and gave the Blackhawks a decent series.

What this series did is give the Blackhawks a good look at what they can expect out of their own play for the rest of the playoffs. For instance, in the goaltending department. Corey Crawford was given the starts while Ray Emery was recovering from injury. The fans, and the rest of the league, got a good look at what the Crow can do when he’s confident and at his peak performance. He held the Wild close and gave his offense chances to take leads and win games.

Which they did, though a lot of the performance was from guys that aren’t on the first line. Marion Hossa played well in the series, netting a few goals, and Patrick Sharp came alive against the Wild after overcoming a slower regular season. But a bulk of Chicago’s offensive performance, especially in the early games of the series, was from guys on the third and fourth lines. What this showcases is that the Blackhawks really do have the depth that is needed to go far in the playoffs. It’s not just hype or wishful thinking, the talent is there and ready to go.

The Blackhawks were expected to go all the way to the finals early this year. Now the depth in the roster is stepping up to prove that it’s possible. As soon as the first line guys (Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews) can start putting pucks in the net (and they will, it’s just a matter of time), the Blackhawks can be anticipated to live up to the hype.

One thing to be on the look out for is the physical play. The Wild attempted to take the body against the Blackhawks and it was working. The Blackhawks are a team that opponents do n’t want to give any room to. When Chicago has room to move, skate, pass, and set up plays, they can be dangerous. But when that space is taken away, Chicago struggles to find ways to win. Other teams see this, and the physical play will most likely pick up.

Onward; Blackhawks advance to second round
DETROIT, MI – MARCH 31: Goalie Jonas Gustavsson #50 of the Detroit Red Wings keeps an eye on the puck as it sits on the netting while teammate Jonathan Ericsson #52 ties up Jimmy Hayes #39 of the Chicago Blackhawks and captain Jonathan Toews skates in during a NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on March 31, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan.
(Photo by Dave Reginek/NHLI via Getty Images)

But Joel Quenneville is a top-rated coach for a reason. It’s sure that he sees this as well. Dave Bolland will be back for the second round and he’ll be asked to continue his gritty/grinder style. Dan Carcillo is healthy enough to contribute physically, and Jamal Mayers has no trouble taking the body. Look for the third and fourth liners to step up the physical play to help create space for the creative style Chicago that does best to emerge and win games.

Emery will also be back for the second round, and as he’s proven all through the regular season, he can outperform opponents and give his team chances to win. Emery coming back into the shuffle will help give Crawford nights off, making him even sharper off the needed rest.

As long as Chicago’s goaltenders can continue their top performance and the offense and depth can continue to show up every night, Chicago fans are in for a celebratory summer.

DaveSchauer

DaveSchauer

David Schauer is an award-winning, professional writer who has been involved in organized hockey for over twenty years. He has been published hundreds of times; about the same number of times he has been checked into the boards.
DaveSchauer

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