Sorry kids. Indian duty precluded me from getting this yesterday. But let’s get to it now, Lord knows we’ve got plenty of time before the game tonight thanks to NBC. I always think it’s a great idea to start a game at 8:30 local time on a Friday night. Doubt the UC will be lacking for atmosphere tonight.
Right, the forwards:
Zach Parise-Mikael Granlund-Jason Pominville
This was the formation for most of the Colorado series, even though Mikko Koivu had centered for Parise for most of the season. Granlund is the better playmaker for these two snipers though, and he scorched the Hawks this season with four assists in just three games (he was hurt the other two). Of course, he was able to do that as Q kept tossing Michal Handzus against him, which won’t happen this series (I pray). Granlund was able to feast off Hawks turnovers and cash in on the break, but hopefully the Hawks have tightened that up for good now. He’s a shifty little fucker, with some balls so he’s not going to shy from anything.
Parise is obviously the big gun and brought his A-game at the end of Round 1, almost willing a Game 6 win by himself at home. What scares you about Parise is that his best work comes right around the net, and this type of player has given the Hawks fits before (Daniel Briere scoring 18 goals in the ’10 Final comes to mind). The Hawks don’t really have any crease clearers in their top four, as much as Hammer and Seabrook should be. Parise is too strong and his hands too quick to be completely neutralized by any road grater anyway. He only made an impact in Game 3 of last year’s series, but I’d look for him to do more this year.
Pominville really cooled off in the second half of the season, and only managed an empty-netter in Round 1. But he’s still very effective at ghosting into space to find time for his quick release, and runs a point on the power play where he’s pretty good at getting a shot through. He had his fun against the Hawks early in the year.