Apr 30, 2013, 11:25 AM EDT
1. Is Corey Crawford a Stanley Cup-caliber goalie?
Most of the time, people don’t question a goalie tandem that just won the Jennings Trophy for allowing the fewest goals during the regular season. But 28-year-old starter Corey Crawford is 0-for-2 in career playoff series and really struggled last season, so people are bound to question this one. Crawford, along with backup Ray Emery, combined to give the Blackhawks a .923 save percentage in 2013, the second highest in the NHL. There were a couple of hiccups in March, but April was solid again. If Crawford isn’t up to the challenge, it will be interesting to see how quickly Joel Quenneville is willing to switch to Emery. It’s been a while, but Emery did backstop the Senators to the finals in 2007. That “what if” scenario, of course, assumes Emery is healthy enough to play. He’s been ruled out for Game 1 with a lower-body injury.
2. Can the Blackhawks get the power play going?
This might’ve been a bigger issue if Chicago hadn’t been so dominant five-on-five this season. Even with the likes of Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa and Duncan Keith, the ‘Hawks finished with the 19th-ranked power play, scoring on just 16.7 percent of their man-advantage opportunities. It’s a bit perplexing given all the top-end offensive talent they have, but the PP was a problem last year, too.
3. Will Dave Bolland be able to play? (And if he can, will he play well?)
Bolland missed the last three games of the regular season with a groin injury and has been ruled out for at least the first game against the Wild. The 26-year-old center has had a tough season, scoring just 14 points in 35 games despite opportunities to play with talented forwards. It appears the Blackhawks will enter the postseason with veteran Michal Handzus as their second-line center, which — no offense to Handzus — is hardly ideal. Bolland has proven himself in past playoffs and has 37 points in 49 games while playing well defensively and getting under the opponents’ skin. Chicago needs him to be that player again.
4. Can the Wild build on the last game of the season?
The pessimist may file this under “congratulations for not choking against a terrible team,” but Minnesota’s playoff-clinching victory Saturday in Colorado showed resolve, especially after Friday’s disaster against the Oilers. The Wild head into the playoffs with a 6-9-1 record in their last 16 games. Obviously, that’s not good. But head coach Mike Yeo — who may have been looking for a new job if the Wild hadn’t beaten the Avs — was feeling positive about his team after getting it done in Denver. “Let’s make it clear: We’re not done,” Yeo said. “We’re not going to sit on cloud nine and say this is a huge accomplishment. This is a step, a big step, a difficult step for us. Now that confidence is there.”
5. Can Ryan Suter shut down Chicago’s top guns?
OK, maybe “shut down” is unrealistic. How about “somewhat contain”? No NHL defenseman played more minutes than Suter did this season. The 28-year-old Norris Trophy candidate who (along with forward Zack Parise) signed for big money in the summer has so far been all his new team could ask for. Suter averaged 27:17 in ice time, scoring four goals and adding 28 assists. The rest of Minnesota’s defense will have to overachieve if the Wild have any hope of pulling an upset. Younsters Jared Spurgeon and Jonas Brodin have zero playoff experience, so it’ll be up to Suter to lead the way.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:47 PM EDT
The club says he’s expected to make a full recovery.
Mar 27, 2015, 8:00 PM EDT
New York plays twice this weekend.
Mar 27, 2015, 7:15 PM EDT
They play in Philadelphia on Saturday.
Mar 27, 2015, 6:24 PM EDT
Hasn’t played since Feb. 24.
Mar 27, 2015, 5:25 PM EDT
Terriers move one step closer to the Frozen Four.
Mar 27, 2015, 5:01 PM EDT
“In the middle of the ice in our system, it’s a lot of work.”
Mar 27, 2015, 4:34 PM EDT
And, quite possibly, for the remainder of the season.
Mar 27, 2015, 4:06 PM EDT
Nail-biting time for Bruins fans.
Mar 27, 2015, 3:35 PM EDT
Joins Pavel Datsyuk and Erik Cole on the shelf.
Mar 27, 2015, 2:33 PM EDT
Mar 27, 2015, 2:23 PM EDT
News and notes from around the crease…
Mar 27, 2015, 2:05 PM EDT
26-15-5 in their last 46 games.
Mar 27, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
Washington sophomore now $2,000 lighter in the pocket.
Mar 27, 2015, 12:36 PM EDT
Vancouver laid another egg last night versus the Avs.
Mar 27, 2015, 12:29 PM EDT
Because things aren’t trending in a good direction for him.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:59 AM EDT
Three straight road wins has the Kings looking postseason-bound.
Mar 27, 2015, 11:12 AM EDT
“We’re on the course that we set two months ago when we made the decision that Ells was going to be the guy, and we’re not changing that course.”
Mar 27, 2015, 10:55 AM EDT
Red Wings host the Sharks tomorrow.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:49 AM EDT
Russian sophomore has missed nearly the entire season with a hip ailment.
Mar 27, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT
He’s been assigned to Hershey on a conditioning assignment.
- Could Lundqvist start Saturday for the Rangers? 4
- Five big games to watch this weekend 6
- Video: Kessel, Booth get into altercation at Leafs practice 32
- Playoff watch — what the bubble teams need to do 28
- After Howard fails to ‘bounce back,’ Mrazek to receive ‘opportunity’ 35
- Bruins can’t hold Ducks off, suffer sixth loss in a row 32
- Ticket punched: Rangers become first team to clinch 2015 playoff berth 14
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT 52
- Marchand: If Bruins miss playoffs, ‘this is going to be a much different group next year’ 20
- Is Lecavalier offering to retire early to facilitate trade out of Philly? 28
- Dreger: ‘In Kessel’s case, I firmly believe he’s going to be traded’ (73)
- Red Wings beat Blues in OT, but should winning goal count? (56)
- Tank-worthy? Connor McDavid finishes OHL season with 120 points in 47 games (56)
- Coyotes ‘win’ against Sabres in OT (54)
- Report: No fine or suspension for Tyler Toffoli’s hit on Alex Burrows (51)