Hey Chi Town, our boys did it. So psyched to see them compete against a skilled opponent in The Tampa Bay Lightning, but first we have to recap game 7, or what I would call if you're watching the game and not the scoreboard, a blowout win. I think this game was won in the first period considering we had Toews hitting the net twice and Cro shutting them out in the first 20. We also saw Saad shining the red behind the tender along with Hossa, although they did break the shut out when Kesler got one by Crawford. 3rd period comes with what I like to call “The Most Dangerous Lead in Hockey” 4-1. For some reason, I feel like teams are able to come up and snatch a game with that score but you and I both know the Hawks always have a vice grip on their leads. Seabrook put one in, so did Perry. I don’t count Beleskey’s goal since it had no impact on the game and came with an empty net advantage. All in all, we are moving on and I will break down the matchup with Tampa in a few moments. While the Hawks didn’t entirely “cut the head off of the snake” as I hoped they would. They still got it done. They surrendered 2 points at the hands of the big three (Kesler, Perry, Getzlaf). Getzlaf has been playing terribly, choking in the final two games with a ± of -5 and no points to go along with it. As the Ducks begin golf season, let’s start to look at the Lightning. (check out the video below for highlights)
Stanley Cup Preview
The Lightning play just like how they sound, lightning quick offense with an army of great skaters and snipers. The only thing they lack is depth at the defenceman position. Their goaltender, Ben Bishop, is a good goalie largely due to his gigantic size (6’7” 220 lbs.). You can’t get anything by him low to the sides, where you need to attack is from afar when he is standing and slip one through the five hole. He is too tall to get down in time, especially if it catches him off guard. Another weakness of his is over the shoulders when he puts his pads down. TOP SHELF IS WIDE OPEN. That’s when we can pass to Kane and let him do his Showtime routine. Players we need to watch for are the the triplets (C Steven Stamkos, arguably the best sniper in the game right now, LW Ondrej Palat, the best skater in the playoffs, and last but not least is RW Nikita Kucherov who is a little bit of both, he has not quite the shooting ability of Stamkos or the skating of Palat but he is a versatile forward who can pass and put the puck behind the tender). Now that we have the obvious targets in the series covered, we can move onto our sleepers for the series and strategies to put pressure on them. #1 is Tyler Johnson, although he is not a sleeper in terms of popularity, he is a sleeper nonetheless because of his position on the depth chart. He is the Patrick Kane of the 2010 playoffs, young rook putting up huge numbers for his club. Johnson is tiny at 5’8” and 175 lbs. That is something we can use against him. Put defensive forwards like Hossa (Big enough to shut him down but not too big to be burned by him) on him so he will have trouble receiving passes or getting shots off. #2 Brian Boyle, he plays a similar role that Perry does for the Ducks, minus the defensive savvy and shooting skills. He likes to park in front of the goal and wait for deflections or second chance opportunities. We need to bang low with him to battle for position. #3 Alex Killorn, he is the 3rd-4th line center for the Bolts and he plays like Kruger, but he has better puck handling skills and he can finish off unexpected odd man rushes. We can pair him up with Shaw and we’ll be golden. Our game plan against the Bolts is simple, We need to make sure Toews and Stamkos are never apart EVER because if they are, Stevie Stamkos will put one home for Tampa, you think I’m kidding but Stamkos is the most explosive scorer in the league. Another way to ensure victory for Coach Q and his troops is to utilize our star players to their fullest. Drawing up plays that play to strengths and not just “what will work”. Like our last series, TURNOVERS CANNOT happen, the lightning will be on it like white on rice and the next thing you know you have a break away or odd man rush and the goal horn will sound. High percentage passes and peppering Bishop with shots will give them the 4 W’s we need to engrave their names in Lord Stanley’s cup for the 3rd time in 6 years, creating a dynasty.