Game Time: 7:00PM Central
TV/Radio: CSN, WGN-AM 720
Comin’ Down The Mountain: Mile High Hockey
You most likely remember the ‘Lanche (and I’m going to call them that throughout the preview because I know it pisses off their fans) from one of the first lopsided losses of the year. Sure, the Hawks got their dicks kicked in a few nights before by Nashville when Khabby bit it but it was the loss to the ‘Lanche that probably pisses us off the most so far this season. We’ve made our feelings about the team very well known. It’s not just their piece of shit goalie, it’s their asshole coach who is raising asshole kids. The fact that this is only the second of five meetings between the new division rivals means we’re in for a long bile filled season, maybe year to come too. With Detroit out of the conference, we’re looking for a new team to hate. St. Louis will be the obvious choice, but this ‘Lanche team could quickly skyrocket to the top of my teams to despise list.
Even worse, this is a team that seems to find a way to play tough against the Hawks. They’ve got small speedy forwards, including Matt Duchene who is on a list with Kane, Crosby and Ovie as one of the most exciting players to watch in the game today. The ‘Lanche are a team that loves to flatout skate. Besides Duchene, there’s O’Reilly, Stastny Parenteau and Landeskog. First round pick, Nathan MacKinnon is right behind them in the points category with 21. Of course, while they’re all sitting between 21-25 points, Kane has almost as many goals. While we’re all aware of what Kane is doing, Duchene, O’Reilly and Johnson are all going on point streaks of their own. They’re all players to watch.
While the ‘Lanche had no business being a dominate team, they started the year as one of the hottest. Their quick start, despite being drastically outplayed by our fancy egghead statistics, has faded in recent weeks. They aren’t lighting up the league as much but with 49 points, they sit third in this division with plenty of games in hand to further solidify their spot in the playoffs. In an odd turn, the ‘Lanche haven’t actually taken the ice since their loss to the Sharks. They flew out to Chicago today without having taken a morning skate. I don’t know how much rust can accumulate in three days but we’re about to find out.
The ‘Lanche are coming into this game after the break having dropped the last two games against the Kings and Sharks via the skills competition. This is also the last road game before they start a 7-game homestand. You might think they’d have their eyes on the bus ready to get back home but since they just had three days off to spend with family in Denver, that is most likely not going to be the case. Few teams are likely to take a game off against the Hawks any time in the future. Everyone wants to take down the champs and as a wise man once said “You come at the King, you best not miss”.
Speaking of the Champs, the last win was just about as textbook as you’d hope for. Despite that, they have still lost the overall point lead in the NHL. With their 27th win of the season on Monday, the Ducks now have 59 points on the season, one more than the Hawks. That’s nine in a row for Anaheim, they’ll have to lose one sometime eventually but the Hawks certainly can’t afford to take their foot of the gas, not that they have shown much signs of slowing down, even with their starting and backup goalie both on the shelf.
The Hawks fell behind 5-0 last time before Saad broke up the Anti-DLR late in the third. This was a game in which Hossa didn’t dress and Bickell went out early. Plus, as is his wont, Q had already started 7 blueliners. So the Hawks started at a disadvantage and things only got worse. Crawford was chased after giving up 3 and we got our first glimpse at Raanta, who look predictably shaky. He’s certain to start this game with Crow and Khabby still out and has looked solid in his last few games. Still not someone I’d want to trust longterm but for now is the best option they’ve got. The Hawks will obviously stick to their speedy style but need to watch out for pinching too aggressively as even the fastest D-men aren’t going to be able to get back in time if the ‘Lanche get in behind them. The last game was garbage, don’t make it two in a row against these dickbags.
Oh, and I hope you all had a lovely Christmas.
Let’s Go Hawks
If you’re not going to the game tonight, you can get a copy of tonight’s Indian right here: