On Wednesday, the Blackhawks will start the playoffs against the Blues in St. Louis. No team has repeated as Stanley Cup Champions in 18 years (1998 Wings). This year, the road will seem to be tougher with injuries and less help on defense for the Blackhawks. Corey Crawford was out the last three weeks until playing in the season-finale on Saturday. I think a goal or two in that game wasn’t really on him, but at least he had some type of tune-up.
The Blackhawks have played really well at times and not much at other times. Like in past years where they won the Cup, there was a stretch in the last few months of the season where they didn’t play their best. They had a 12-game winning streak that began in December and stretched into January. They moved up the standings and into first place for a bit. They still had a chance to win the division or get into second place to host the first round, but lost the last two games in overtime.
Duncan Keith is still suspended and will be ready to play come Game 2 of the series. The depth on defense is slim. But if anyone can get the most out of his players, it’s Joel Quennville. He has seemed to be a magician in these situations. There are injuries, as mentioned with Crawford, that are lingering with some players. But Qunneville is the guy who has the ability to right the ship. He will have his team ready to go.