5 Players that Have to Step Up for Chicago Blackhawks
5 Players That Need to Step Up For Chicago
The Chicago Blackhawks, after an incredible come-from-behind series with the Detroit Red Wings, find themselves in the Western Conference Finals once again. Chicago won the Stanley Cup in 2010 when they outlasted the Philadelphia Flyers in six games. In order to get back the finals and have another chance to hoist the cup, they will have to get past one of the hottest goal tenders in the NHL, Jonathan Quick, and the Los Angles Kings stand in the way of Chicago and the championship.
Chicago had the best record in the league this year and coasted into the playoffs. After getting off to the best start in NHL history, the Blackhawks never looked back. Winning the President's Trophy automatically put them as the favorites to win the Stanley Cup in 2013. After an easy first round with the Minnesota Wild, the second round was a lot more dicey for Chicago and their fans. Chicago found themselves down 3-1 in the series to the Red Wings before winning three straight and advancing.
Much as he had done all season, goalie Corey Crawford stepped up for Chicago when they needed him most. With the backs against the wall, he only allowed five goals in the final three games against Detroit as he helped Chicago advance to the next round. If the Blackhawks hope to advance to the Finals and have a chance at winning the cup, they are going to need some contributions from some other key players in the series. Here is a list of five guys that have to step up for Chicago to advance to the Finals.
Corey Crawford - G
As previously stated, Crawford has been great between the pipes for Chicago all year. His 1.70 goals against average in the playoffs is nothing to scoff at. However, he is going to have to be better in this series to match his counterpart, Jonathan Quick. Quick is putting up a 1.50 goals against average in the post season and, unlike Crawford, has the experience on his side. Quick led the Kings to last year's Championship.
Patrick Kane - RW
All season long, Patrick Kane was the best player for the Chicago Blackhawks. Kane had 55 points in 47 games played. He had 23 goals and 32 assists. However, the playoffs have been a different animal. In 12 games, Kane only has two goals and seven assists. Kane was influential in the 2010 Stanley Cup Champion team and in order for Chicago to do it again this year, he has to step up and be the leader.
Jonathan Toews - C
Jonathan Toews tied Kane for the most goals on the Blackhawks during the regular season with 23, but his play in the playoffs has fallen off. Toews only has one playoff goal and five assists compared to his 25 assists during the regular season. The Blackhawks need their captain to step up and take charge against L.A.
Duncan Keith - D
This former Norris Trophy winner for the Blackhawks was influential in Chicago's run to the Stanley Cup championship in 2010. His 24 assists during the regular season this year helped fuel Chicago's run to the President's Trophy. His play during the playoffs hasn't fallen off any. As a matter of fact, he's putting up slightly better numbers as he has eight assists in 12 games. The Blackhawks will need him to keep providing points as they hope to get past Jonathan Quick and the Kings.
Marian Hossa - RW
Hard to complain about Hoss's game so far in the playoffs. In 12 games played, he's had five goals and six assists and is tied with Patrick Sharp for the most points on the team with 11 in the playoffs. However, Hossa is a veteran leader and it will be imperative that he shows that leadership abilities during the Western Conference Finals.