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Notes: If the Hawks wanted to have some fun they’d let Lankinen start tonight, as a reward for a season in Rockford. Ward gets to go out with a win, everyone’s happy…Kunitz certainly looked like he was playing his last game last night, starting with Daydream Nation, so you could see Kruger slot back in for him instead of Hayden…Koekkoek scored so maybe he gets to stay in the lineup? Does it matter? No, it does not…four 20 goal-scorers, two 40 goal-scorers, and they’re not even close to the playoffs…

Notes: That’s two picks and a player they gave up for two-thirds for a fourth-line…It felt like Granlund would be a perfect fit in Nashville, as it never quite popped in Minnesota, but his 3.8 SH% has seen that it hasn’t yet…Forsberg only has one goal in his last seven…Rinne’s found it again after a wonky February, with a .927 in March and stopping 56 of 60 in two April starts…Johansen is on something of a heater for him, with three goals in his last five games…

 

Game #82 Preview Suite

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Notes: We have no idea what the Stars will look like tonight. Benn, Zuccarello, and Polak are staying home to rest up for next week so the lines will be shuffled all night. Imagine being in a spot where you feel you have to rest Roman Polak…Seguin has 18 points in his last 16 games, which should keep the CEO quiet for a few days…Bishop is hurt, though they’re fairly sure he’ll be ready for the playoffs, so it’s Khudobin tonight…Spezza has two goals in the year of 2019…

Notes: We imagine the Hawks will try and go out of the home schedule with a bang. Gilbert was sent down after his gift, so we imagine Colliton’s fascination with Forsling continues…Crow will start, and then they’ll pack him in ice and chrio-freeze him until training camp. Or they should…The second line actually had a strong possession game against the Blues, which is not something they’ve done a lot of even when they’ve been scoring…Anisimov’s line got its head kicked in. If you’re lucky, this is Arty’s last time in red…Same goes for Seabrook? Keith?

 

Game #81 Preview Suite

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Notes: We were hoping they wouldn’t ever figure out that Alex Steen has been a fourth-line player for like a couple a seasons now, but nothing about this season is going the way we hoped…Binnington has stuttered of late, with just a .912 in March but was awfully good against the Avs last out…Tarasenko is another who cooled off in March, as he had only three goals. But he kills the Hawks as you know, with 18 goals in 27 career games…ROR has a five-game point-streak…This feels like one Patrick Maroon gets an awfully dumb, awfully annoying goal…

Notes: Ignore what it says here, Gilbert is in for Forsling. Kunitz will replace Sikura who was sent down to Rockford to be available for the AHL playoffs. No word on if Kampf is back but he should be for Hayden…Gilbert was fine in Rockford, and the Hawks do like to reward guys who have been the good soldier down there when they can…Ward will start tonight, and honestly don’t be shocked if he takes the rest in what could be his final three games in the league…These are definitely Kunitz’s last three games, you’d have to think…At least you don’t have to watch Forsling tonight…

 

Game #80 Preview Suite

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Notes: On the injury front, Josh Morrissey has been skating but isn’t close to returning, so that’s why Beaulieu is up with Trouba…Scheifele has been scuffling of late, with just two points in his last six games…Byfuglien returned from injury on Saturday, but it didn’t have the desired effect as they still lost to the Habs at home…Hellebuyck has been on a real heater in March, with a .926 after being pretty middling most of the year. He’s their great hope going forward…Captain Stairwell has fit in nicely on the second line, but wouldn’t seem to be the pure passer to maximize Laine…

Notes: It might be that Sikura is scratched in favor of John Hayden, not that anything matters at this point…Caggiula looked ok on his return, but he’s just a guy and we’re not exactly sure what Dylan Strome is supposed to do with that line. Then again, he has to prove he can be successful with someone else other than DeBrincat at some point…Is DeBrincat now a better goal-scorer than Laine? Discuss amongst yourselves…

 

Game #79 Preview Suite

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Notes: We assume Coach Cool Youth Pastor won’t deviate from a successful lineup, although Slater Koekkoek should be deposited in the nearest wood-chipper after his tour de moron on Thursday…We’re assuming Perlini won’t be scratched after his benching, but he might be to make way for John Hayden, because that will help things…You could also scratch Seabrook, as he was just as bad as Koekkoek but we know Beto doesn’t have the stones for that. It was also a true indictment that it was Seabrook who was staring at Sorensen elbowing Crawford in the head and decided to do nothing about it. Nice work, alternate captain…

Notes: You don’t see Ilya Kovalchuk here, as he’s been a scratch of late and then insulted his coach to the press so he could get a head start on his summer vacation. Who could have seen the disaster that would become except everyone?…Dion Phaneuf has also been a recent toss-aside, because he’s sucked for a very long time and now people are just discovering that…Kopitar has two goals in March…Toffoli is shooting 6%, which is almost half his career rate…

 

Game #78 Preview Suite

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Notes: Due to the Pacific Timezone start we didn’t get a chance to glance at the morning skate, but we assume Coach Cool Substitute Teacher will stick with the lines that didn’t work on Sunday but got a win. The prospect of the top line is tantalizing, but there’s not puck-winner, space-opener there. Toews doesn’t do that anymore, and Beto needs to realize that. It also leaves the rest of the lineup without any dash whatsoever. We know Kane on a “third” line looks weird, but the Hawks did win five in a row in that formation…Forsling probably plays, but we can’t bring ourselves to change it all the time or more likely to care when everyone basically sucks…Would be nice if Perlini found it again, and his recent “streak” is just three big games against bad teams…

Notes: Stepan didn’t play last time, and he does make a difference as he’s an actual checking center. Expect him to be on Toews all night…Chychrun didn’t play last time but that doesn’t seem to be carrying over to tonight…Vinne Smalls poured in four goals in the two games after the loss to the Hawks, but hasn’t scored or assisted in the five games since…Kuemper may be having fatigue problems. He wasn’t any good against the Oilers, Lightning, or Panthers. He rebounded against the Devils and Islanders, but there’s no offensive there there…Keller has no goals and two assists in his last eight games…

 

Game #76 Preview Suite

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Notes: Crawford might get both starts this weekend, as Colliton makes one last death lunge at this season being anything. Seems a tall task for a player who has missed so much time and only recently came back. This could get messy…Anyone else notice the Hawks don’t have a goal from a forward since he switched Saad and Kane? Anyone?…Saad was a monster on Thursday and almost did it himself. He’s going to have to…We don’t know what the defensive shuffle will be this weekend, and honestly, we don’t care…

Notes: We can’t predict what the Avs lines will look like. They dressed seven d-men last out and the Rantanen got hurt and his questionable for the weekend, so this is a guess. Nieto and Landeskog are definitely out…Rantanen has slowed up a bit, with only 13 points in his last 24 games…Barrie has been hot, with eight points in his last 10 games…Grubauer has been lights-out in March, with a .968 in seven appearances…

 

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Notes: Michael Raffl has been sick, so he might not play…Giroux’s shooting-percentage is almost half of what it was last year, and he has one goal in his last 10 games…It’s a rough go for that bottom-six right now…Couturier has 29 points in his last 22 games, and that line is probably the main threat at the moment…Provorov has had a hard season, and maybe giving him the toughest assignments at a tender age was a bridge too far…Given the youth in this lineup, you can see why they’re the clubhouse leader for Joel Quenneville’s services next year…

Notes: There’s no idiocy like doubled-down idiocy. Sikura-Toews-Kane makes no sense. It doesn’t provide Daydream Nation with another puck-winner like Saad would be. It doesn’t provide a finisher for Kane to set-up, nor is Sikura enough of a playmaker to reverse that. Sikura has played well, but there was nothing wrong with Saad here. And now what is that third line? What does it do? It’s not a checking line with Anisimov there. It has very little dash to score. This should last no more than a period…Perlini didn’t score on Monday, so we guess he sucks again…Dahlstrom shouldn’t be scratched again, because Forsling and Koekkoek are nothings and Dahlstrom at least does something…

 

Game #73 Preview Suite

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Notes: Not only did the Canucks play last night, and not only are they bad, but they’re beat up. Ben Hutton, Brandon Sutter, Antoine Roussel, and Chris Tanev are done for the season, and Ryan Spooner is pretty close to that. This wasn’t a team that was screaming with depth before, so you can see why their half-assed playoff chase is falling by the wayside…Pettersson has cooled off a bit, with “only” 15 points in the last 21 games, but he wasn’t going to shoot over 20% forever…His linemate Boeser is under no such streaks though, as he has points in his last six and has been a problem for the Hawks in the past…Virtanen has two goals in 2019, so that’s working out well…Remember kids, if Luke Schenn is on your blue line, then it probably sucks…

Notes: Wouldn’t expect any changes here. Koekkoek came in for Dahlstrom on Saturday and the Hawks gave up 48 shots to a mediocre team, so he probably gets back in to try and help Murphy. Either for Forsling or Koekkoek, it doesn’t matter…Perlini was named second star of the week by the NHL, and why wouldn’t he be? Don’t buy in yet, he still smacks of a third line weapon, but at least he’s being used on the PK where he has a chance to do some real damage too. They need all the speed they can get on that unit…If Colliton had any balls they’d call up Jokiharju has have him replace Seabrook, but we won’t hop on one foot waiting for that to happen…

 

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Notes: Crawford seems to have gotten over the shits, so he’s back in tonight…It was a rough one for the fourth line when the Leafs got going, as they were charged with trying to keep Auston Matthews on a leash. You know how it went…Could see Hayden back in, but as this is probably Kunitz’s last visit to Montreal and that probably means something, don’t count on it…Toews against Kotkaniemi ought to be an interesting watch, which should also free up Strome…

Notes: The bottom-six is kind of a guess, and Julien tends to mix and match them as we go along…Since Price gave up eight to the Ducks he’s only surrendered three on 59 shots in two games, though that was New Jersey and Detroit…Drouin hasn’t scored since February 7th…Petry and Kulak are where most of the offense comes from…Whatever Kotkaniemi doesn’t take Danault will, and Strome can probably expect him up his ass all night…

 

Game #71 Preview Suite

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