Western Conference Game 6 Preview

It’s do or die, again, tonight. The Blackhawks are used to this, and don’t seem that worried. They didn’t seem concerned when they were the Kings made the comeback Wednesday night, or when the Kings took the lead halfway through the third. You could just feel that they were going to tie it up. Throughout the crazy, seems-like-it’s-been-forever-since-the-last-whistle first overtime, you could tell that one OT wasn’t going to do it, but it would only be a matter of time before they scored. Sometimes you can just tell that a team is going to pull it out, and I was confident that the Hawks would in game 5.

Tonight, though… I’m not so sure.

Let’s take a look at some of the main factors going into tonight’s game 6.

Goaltending

There were some people calling Crawford Marc-Andre Crawford, and for good reason. His confidence seemed to disappear after game one and hasn’t been back, despite the win in game 5. It’s what happened to Fleury the last couple years until he finally found a sports psychologist to help him through it. Maybe Crawford should give him a call. Not all of these are his fault, but let’s look at the goals that the Hawks have given up since game 1:

Game 2 – 6 goals

Game 3 – 4 goals

Game 4 – 5 goals

Game 5 – 4 goals

19 goals in 4 games doesn’t scream “Stanley Cup Champion.” We’ll see if he can get his magic back tonight. On the other side, Quick hasn’t been the best either. We can only hope that he’ll have another off game.

Home Sweet Home

Both teams are awesome at home. That was great for the Blackhawks in game 5, but they’re going to have to figure out a way to win in L.A if they want a chance at the Cup. There’s just something about the Kings at home that can be unstoppable at times. Sometimes watching them I wonder what happened to the team who went down 3 games to 0 against the Sharks. Now they look more and more like the team who won 4 straight.

Will the Stars Shine?

We need more out of Kane and Toews. It’s pretty simple. When they’re shining, the rest of the team shines. We can’t afford for them to have an off night. We can’t afford for anyone to have an off night when it’s a game like this, but they can really set the tone for how this game is going to go. Toews can help strengthen his argument for “best player in the league” tonight. Or, we’ll get the “what happened to Toews” questions that are painful to answer.

What surprises await?

When game 5 went into double OT, I said, “Who’s going to be the random player that wins this?” Not many people would have picked Michal Hanzus, who played his 1,000th game earlier this year. But the Hawks are deep enough to have a guy like that step up and perform.

Tonight should be a good game. I hope it is, anyway. I really think that this game right here is for the Cup. Hawks win, and then win at home, and handle the Rangers in 5. Kings win, they beat the Rangers in 5 as well.

Go Hawks!

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