When you are the defending Stanley Cup champion, the decisions of your front office are magnified. The more they are magnified, the harder it is to let go of players that have had a direct impact on your winning ways. The measure of a good general manager is knowing when to cut your losses on a player, especially one you don't deem worthy of your core. The Blackhawks have done this over and over again and because of it, the team has been able to prosper.
A lot of the credit has to go to the Blackhawks scouting staff giving the team the ability to reload and one of the big boons of the offseason came courtesy of their work. Artemi Panarin and Artem Anisimov are players that have allowed the team to stay on an elite level even after losing players like Brandon Saad, Patrick Sharp and Johnny Oduya. They give the team depth and score on a level no other second line in the league can claim. While Patrick Kane leads the league in scoring these two players aren't passengers but players that help steer the ship. Watch out for the most dynamic second line in hockey.
Tale Of The Tape
|2nd in Pacific||Rank||1st in Central|
5:30 PM PDT | United Center | Chicago, Illinois
Know Your Enemy: Second City Hockey
Projected Sharks Lineup
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Joe Pavelski
Matt Nieto - Patrick Marleau - Joel Ward
Joonas Donskoi - Logan Couture - Tommy Wingels
Melker Karlsson - Chris Tierney - Dainius Zubrus
Marc Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Paul Martin - Brent Burns
Brenden Dillon - Dylan DeMelo
Projected Blackhawks Lineup
Andrew Shaw - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa
Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane
Andrew Desjardins - Phillip Danault - Teuvo Teravainen
Brandon Mashinter - Dennis Rasmussen - Richard Panik
Duncan Keith - Niklas Hjalmarsson
Erik Gustafsson - Brent Seabrook
Trevor Van Riemsdyk - Michal Rozsival
In the last meeting between the Sharks and Blackhawks, Jonathan Toews scored the game winner in OT. A stout performance from Crawford kept the Blackhawks in the game and saved their tail more often than not. Most impressively for the Blackhawks, they won this on a back-to-back. Joonas Donskoi of the Sharks had two points against the Blackhawks that evening.
- Can the Sharks avoid the season sweep?
- Martin Jones allowed five goals on 29 shots last game. How will he rebound against an offensively skilled team like the Blackhawks?
- The Blackhawks are looking for a fourth straight win courtesy of Corey Crawford. Can he keep up this Vezina like pace?