Even under normal circumstances, this stretch of the year can feel arduous and get to be a slog, and that’s without the now constant looming specter of random roster configurations and potential postponements at every turn. Furthermore, the style of hockey the Hawks are now trying to win with is anything but scintillating, but at least it netted results on this 3 game, 3 time zone trip, with the Hawks taking 2 of 3, and two in regulation, though not necessarily the games one would have guessed going into it.
With the West now officially all sewn up — the Hawks will start at least the first three series on West Madison — let’s take a look at who is going to show up here for Game 1 on April 30 or May 1 (or later maybe, these schedules can get silly).
There are up to six teams that could land in the 8th seed, and they break evenly into two groups of three. One group being the longshots to end up in 8th, either being unlikely to fall there or unlikely to climb there. And the other are the three who are likely to be there. The first group contains St. Louis, Minnesota, and Phoenix. The second group is Detroit, Columbus, and Dallas.
Let’s look at each, and see what would be the best matchup (as if I’m going to pretend it’s not Dallas).
Tonight, it became clear that the Hawks know when to pick their spots. Are they intentionally doing this? I’m going to guess no. Because I doubt Q is in the dressing room telling them to do just enough to get by the Jackets. But what were the Hawks worst games this year? Against the Flames for sure, there have been three games against Columbus where they’ve been nowhere hear their best, and they were ok against middling Sharks and Stars squads (the Sharks at home).
When have they been at their best? Against the Canucks — Luongo singlehandedly kept them out once and only a 3rd period el foldo kept the other one out — the two games against the Kings, and the Blues last night. Sure, there are some exceptions, but for the most part the Hawks have specialized in doing whatever is needed to get the two points. So it was tonight, for 21.