May 23, 2013, 10:51 PM EDT
Whether you lambaste the Chicago Blackhawks or simply praise the Detroit Red Wings’ key players, the bottom line is that Detroit is now off to a 3-1 series lead after shutting its division rivals down 2-0 in Game 4 on Thursday.
Let’s discuss it.
- Jimmy Howard locked down a shutout and has only allowed three Blackhawks goals in four contests. Is he finally going to get credit as a key piece of the Red Wings’ puzzle. More directly: where does he rank among the best goalies in the NHL?
- More on this later, but Jonathan Toews had one of his worst nights of the playoffs (and of his young postseason career). Can he get it together? If not, will he get the sort of blame that many other star players receive when they don’t produce in big games?
- If you were building a team and you only had this series’ two coaches to choose from, would you go with Mike Babcock or Joel Quenneville?
- The Blackhawks are down 3-1 in this series. They famously roared back from a 3-0 deficit against the Vancouver Canucks to tie a series, only to lose in Game 7. Can they complete a comeback this time?
- How much of this series is about the Red Wings’ ability to stop the Blackhawks and how much of it is about Chicago’s offense short-circuiting? What do the ‘Hawks need to do to turn things around?
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