Everything Else

It must’ve been a really odd season for the hockey press that is looking for any excuse to drop to their knees for Steve Yzerman. Steven Stamkos got hurt, as has kind of been his wont in recent years. Ben Bishop was bad, and then he was gone. Tyler Johnson, Valterri Filppula both missed serious chunks of time. And though there was a late charge to get into the playoffs, they missed out after back-to-back conference final-at-least appearances. How could such a thing happen to a team with a GM as genius as Stevie Y? Oh right, the blue line behind Hedman blew chunks. Well guess what? IT STILL DOES! Yzerman has kept salary cap doomsday off for another year or two at least, and the Bolts look ready to regain their place atop the East.

Tampa Bay Lightning

’16-’17 Record: 42-30-10  94 points (5th in the Flortheast)

Team Stats 5v5: 51.2 CF% (7th)  49.8 SF% (18th)  51.7 SCF% (7th)  7.3 SH% (18th)  .924 SV% (16th)

Everything Else

 vs oldschool

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBC, CBC, TVA, WGN-AM 720
Black Me Out: Raw Charge

Since opening in 1994, the Stanley Cup has never been in the United Center with a series on the line even in the renaissance era of the Blackhawks. It was 23 years ago when it was last in Chicago, June 1st 1992 when the Penguins complete a sweep of the Hawks at the old barn. The last time the Hawks had the ability to claim the chalice themselves was May 18th, 1971 in Game 7 against the Canadiens. A game that those who remember will never be able to fully forget. The last time the Hawks actually won at home was April 12th 1938, and even then, the Cup wasn’t awarded to them that night after the final horn. No, the last time the Hawks actually hoisted the Holy Grail on home ice was all the way back to April 10th of 1934, 81 years ago. That’s so long ago that the Cup itself doesn’t even look as it does now. But all of these counts can revert back to zero with a win over the Lightning in Game 6 tonight.

Everything Else

oldschool at 

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBC, CBC, TVA, WGN-AM 720
Ache With Me: Raw Charge

And now the home stretch. With a win on Wednesday night, the Hawks now return to Tampa with the series tied at two games apiece. And in order for them to return back to the west side on Monday with the ultimate goal fully in reach, they will have to do something they have not done yet in this post season, and that’s win Game 5 on the road.

Everything Else

oldschool at greased lightning

Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: NBC, CBC, TVA, WGN-AM 720
Reinventing Axl Rose: Raw Charge

A year later, the Blackhawks finally find themselves in the position they should have been in with 20 minutes to play against the Kings on June 1st. And with them, a return to the only hockey that matters. Hockey whose outcome will determine names engraved in silver, and on the Hawks’ side of the ledger, a chance at solidifying even much more than that. Standing in their way is now the Tampa Bay Lightning, a team more than comfortable at not only playing the exact game the Hawks want to and possibly even faster, but also gleefully seizing the opportunity to play the upstarts and define their own story rather than be a footnote in someone else’s.

Everything Else

This is where it might get to be tough reading for everyone. It is rare that you would find yourself saying, “Boy, I’m not sure the Hawks want to get into a track meet with these guys.” Generally games against Colorado have fallen into that category. Dallas is sort of edging that way. And generally that’s about it.

But Tampa would almost certainly be on top of that list. While the Preds tried to go plaid and wear the Hawks out that way, the Lightning will try and do some of the same things Nashville did. Except they’ll try it with a consistent 40-goal scorer who once pierced 60, two Calder finalists from last year who are Conn Smythe contenders this year, and a some pretty clever centers. Yeah, little worrying.

But much like the defense, there’s an upper echelon here and then a Looney Tunes cliff-like drop. Let’s get into the nitty gritty.

Everything Else

Greased_Lightning vs oldschool

Game Time: 7:30PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Guilty As Charged, But Dammit It Ain’t Right: Raw Charge

As far as matchups in the first half of November are concerned, they don’t get much more exciting than this on paper. Both the Hawks and the Lightning have legitimate hopes of emerging from their respective conferences in late May while playing an electrifying (GET IT) style of up tempo hockey. Tonight will be Tampa’s lone appearance in the United Center this season, which adds to the uniqueness of the matchup. Meanwhile a national TV audience gets the Sabres and Blues over on NBCSN, so nicely done by the NHL once again.