At times, the Chicago Blackhawks had a tough time cracking the Detroit defense in their seven-game Western Conference semifinals series.
And ‘Hawks forward Marian Hossa knows his team hasn’t seen anything yet.
“You thought maybe there was little room against the Red Wings, against the Kings there’s going to be a little less,” said Hossa, per Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun-Times.
“They play a physical game. We play a quick game, and we know how we can beat them. We just have to use our quickness.”
Chicago boasted the NHL’s second-best offense during the regular season, averaging 3.1 goals per game. With Hossa, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp, and Duncan Keith, there’s no shortage of creativity on the roster.
But San Jose had offensive talent, too, and the Kings — with their hard-checking style, not to mention the brilliant goaltending of Jonathan Quick — limited the Sharks to just 10 goals in seven games.
Of course, the ‘Hawks don’t plan on being the only ones getting hit out there.
“We expect a hard forecheck and hard game against us,” said coach Joel Quenneville. “We want to do what we can physically as well.”
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: