May 15, 2013, 12:38 PM EST
Do regular-season results matter?
Detroit will hope not.
The Blackhawks swept the season series 4-0 (though, to be fair, three of the games went to shootout or overtime) and clobbered the Wings 7-1 on Mar. 31, a game Detroit defenseman Niklas Kronwall said “was embarrassing at times.”
The ‘Hawks are 7-0-2 in their last nine against the Wings — dating back to last season — and haven’t lost in regulation to Detroit in over two years (Apr. 10, 2011).
Can Howard best Crawford?
Most admit Chicago has the edge in terms of forward and defensive depth, so the goaltending position is hugely important.
Statistically speaking, Crawford had the superior opening round. He posted a 1.32 GAA and .950 save percentage to Howard’s 2.74 and .911, but it was Howard that stepped up when the stakes were high.
He went 3-1 in overtimes during Round 1 — stopping nine of 10 shots faced — and came up big again in Game 7, stopping 20 of 21 shots in the second and third periods as Anaheim looked to rally (and the only goal that beat Howard was a bank shot off Jonathan Ericsson‘s skate).
How tired are the Wings?
It was a tough opening round for Detroit, drawing arguably the worst travel option imaginable (nearly 2000 miles between Anaheim and Detroit).
The Wings made a number of cross-country flights during the series, went to overtime in four of the seven games and suffered several injuries along the way: Danny DeKeyser (broken thumb) was lost for the playoffs, Mikael Samuelsson aggravated a pectoral muscle injury, Jimmy Howard has a sore hamstring and Dan Cleary was a human bruise by Game 7.
Will Sharp stay hot?
After missing 20 games during an injury-plagued regular season, Patrick Sharp has taken the postseason by storm.
The 31-year-old forward led all Chicago skaters with five goals in the opening round, scoring two game-winning tallies.
Kane still managed to rack up five assists in five games, though, and gave Sharp plenty of credit for converting on his scoring chances.
‘‘He knows how to get open,’’ Kane told the Chicago Sun-Times. ‘‘And when he does, he doesn’t miss often.
“He’s always finding himself a good chance, whether it’s around the net or in the slot.’’
What to do with Datsyuk and Zetterberg?
It’s a question Anaheim wasn’t able to answer in the opening round — Datsyuk and Zetterberg combined for 15 points against the Ducks, who simply couldn’t find the proper matchup for Detroit’s two best players.
That said, the ‘Hawks might have an answer.
They’ll return center Dave Bolland for this series after he missed the end of the regular season and entire first round with a lower body injury.
Bolland is a talented checking center who figures to slot into the third line alongside Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw — a unit that can play a physical, defense-first game but also provide offense when necessary.
Even though he’s just 26, Bolland’s carved a reputation as a solid postseason performer. He has 37 points in 49 career games and scored eight goals in 22 games en route to Chicago’s Stanley Cup championship in 2010.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:30 AM EST
But they snapped that 10-game losing streak the other day.
Dec 13, 2013, 1:03 AM EST
His inconsistent season continues.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:36 AM EST
Quite the funk they’re in when it comes to this aspect.
Dec 13, 2013, 12:17 AM EST
Bet these guys were tired after.
Dec 12, 2013, 11:57 PM EST
What a day in Calgary. More Brian Burke!
Dec 12, 2013, 11:34 PM EST
Yeah, these are tough times.
Dec 12, 2013, 11:10 PM EST
Didn’t think too highly of it.
Dec 12, 2013, 10:45 PM EST
But two points eluded them.
Dec 12, 2013, 10:23 PM EST
Dec 12, 2013, 10:06 PM EST
And it’s getting worse in New York.
Dec 12, 2013, 9:17 PM EST
Nice moment in Philly.
Dec 12, 2013, 9:04 PM EST
Montreal defenseman’s night ends early.
Dec 12, 2013, 8:52 PM EST
Jonathan Bernier takes over.
Dec 12, 2013, 8:15 PM EST
Tough time to be a Columbus goalie.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:39 PM EST
Cam Talbot was cheered upon entering the game.
Dec 12, 2013, 7:10 PM EST
No word on the severity of TT’s injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 6:27 PM EST
He’s been out with a lower-body injury.
Dec 12, 2013, 5:17 PM EST
Oilers coach wants to use “speed” and “smarts” tonight.
Dec 12, 2013, 4:40 PM EST
Oh, and Anders Nilsson sent back to AHL.
Dec 12, 2013, 4:23 PM EST
That didn’t take long.
- Lundqvist hooked after three first-period goals as Rangers’ woes continue 19
- Burke wants the Flames to be — yep, you guessed it — more ‘truculent’ 39
- Flames fire GM Jay Feaster 36
- Video: Projected rise in salary cap could have some players ‘licking their lips’ 19
- Discuss: Blackhawks score big on Rivalry Night on NBCSN 37
- Crosby: If I had to guess Thornton’s suspension, I’d say 10 games 83
- Cowen gets two-game suspension for hit on Girgensons 12
- Rangers must consider Callahan’s injury history in contract talks 13
- The Chip ‘n’ Chase: Outrage over hockey violence, Gary Bettman is a happy man, Darryl Sutter is awesome, and more! 33
- Report: Isles coach Capuano not seen as problem 11
- Video: Penguins’ Orpik stretchered off ice; Bruins’ Thornton given match penalty (184)
- Neal suspended five games for kneeing Marchand in the head (156)
- Bruins coach admits Thornton crossed the line, slams Pens for not being ‘truthful’ (138)
- Pens put Orpik on IR (132)
- Orpik suffers from concussion, including memory loss (118)