One series is going as expected, the other – the wheels are falling off the cart.The Chicago Blackhawks stormed into the Stanley Cup Playoffs with ease, on the backs of one of the best seasons in recent history. Thanks to a shortened season and a huge point streak – there was little doubt what was on the mind of the Blackhawks.
They face off tonight against the Minnesota Wild – a team that struggled into the playoffs, and can’t find a rhythm against the Chicago based hockey club.
With a victory tonight, the Chicago Blackhawks could join the San Jose Sharks in waiting for the second round to begin. If the Anaheim Ducks can get past the Detroit Red Wings - the Sharks and Blackhawks will meet in the second round based on the reseeding of the lowest seed playing the highest seed. The Sharks have to be hoping the Minnesota Wild can find lightning in a bottle the next three games.
Josh Harding will get the nod for the Minnesota Wild – a change in netminder being the spark that the Wild need to stay alive in their series.
On the Eastern Conference side of the house, the Ottawa Senators can be the first team to cross into the second round by beating the injured Montreal Canadiens.
Montreal still wants to believe that they are the better team in the first round matchup – but have not been able to muster much of anything against the Ottawa Senators. They will play out the rest of the first round of the playoffs without starting goaltender Carey Price and captain Brian Gionta.
With goaltending changes in both series – will we see a change in fortunes?
Ottawa and Montreal faceoff begins at 7, and the Chicago Blackhawks take the ice at 7:30.
Also on the schedule tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins will try to put the New York Islanders in check – as game five between the tied teams is at 7PM.