Blackhawks Are Back!

It took six games for the Blackhawks to assert themselves as the defending Stanley Cup Champions, but after yesterdays dismissal of the St. Louis Blues at the United Center there’s no doubt that the Blackhawks should by all accounts return to the Stanley Cup Finals for a rematch with the Boston Bruins.

The Blackhawks – after losing the first two games in St. Louis in overtime – started to turn the corner from the mediocre team they’d been for the second half of the season and now seem poised to not only win the Western Conference, but actually destroy it. While the rest of the west struggles to get through their opening round series’, the Blackhawks became the first team to advance to the second round Sunday Afternoon. Their next opponent will either be the Wild or Avs, and nobody including yours truly thinks that that series should pose a problem for the now elite team in the conference.

Yes the ‘Hawks may not have home-ice advantage for the entirety of the playoffs, but after yesterday’s win, they don’t appear as though it’ll matter too much. The Avalanche proved to be a real thorn in the side of Chicago during the regular season, but Colorado doesn’t have elite forwards that the Blackhawks possess. Nathan McKinnon is an absolute monster, and Landeskog is very good, but Patrick Kane is getting going and Jonathan Toews is rounding into form, and the overall look of the team in the past four games is that of a defending champ.

The Western Conference Finals will be very difficult because Chicago will be on the road with a heavy travel schedule. The Ducks wrapped up their series last night and San Jose hasn’t been able to vanquish the Kings just yet. Chicago however has played great against all those teams and if they can get out of their own division may have an easier time than against Colorado.

If Colorado is to close out their series in Minnesota that’l give them a little bit of rest before their series opener at home, but for how long can Varlamov and those very, very young forwards keep it up. Having trouble against a far inferior team than Chicago is telling. If Colorado can’t make quick work of the Wild who have an extremely weak defense then they’re in for a rude awakening when Kane, Toews, Sharp, and Hossa come to town.

After falling behind 0-2 to the Blues, the Blackhawks were a +1750 to win the cup. Once the series returned to even that margin was cut to +700. Currently the ‘Hawks are second to only Boston at 5/1. Everyone in Chicago needs to start gobbling up those tickets because it’s gonna be another finals dream match-up with Boston and Chicago butting heads as the two preeminent teams in the NHL over the past five-years.