|EDITOR’S CORNER: Blackhawks plus United Center equals a series lead|
|Written by Emily Warner, Daily Vidette Sports Editor|
|Monday, 16 April 2012 12:10|
I’m playing the song “Homecoming” by Kanye West on repeat right now. Why? Obviously because it’s a good song, but also because it’s about Chicago and in honor of the Blackhawks coming back to the United Center for Games 3 and 4 of the opening round of playoffs, it seems fitting.
With the series tied 1-1 against the Phoenix Coyotes, and the momentum in the Hawks’ favor, the next two games are going to be a great opportunity for them to take advantage of the crazy crowd and atmosphere that fills the UC and take the lead in the series.
Although Phoenix bested the Blackhawks twice in Chicago back in November and December, and three out of four times overall in the regular season, the Hawks have proved how hard it is to silence them this time of year, scoring last second goals that have sent both playoff games into OT so far, with the most recent one on Saturday ending in Chicago’s favor.
“Now we’re going home with a lot of momentum and excitement,” captain Jonathan Toews told the Chicago Tribune. “We’re looking forward to playing in our own building. [Home ice] is something [that] once you get it, you can’t let it go.”
Despite the Hawks being the No. 6 seed and the Coyotes picking up a No. 3 seed, the Hawks possess more depth with stars like Toews (as long as he’s healthy), Dave Bolland, and then of course the usual suspects like Patrick Sharp, Patrick Kane, and Duncan Keith, to name a few.
But Phoenix definitely has the advantage in the net as Mike Smith is pretty good and Corey Crawford is ... sort of the opposite of that. But Smith has allowed a total of six goals in the first two games of the series, which seems like a sign that this guy can be broken. Throw the Madhouse on Madison into the combination and it’s almost a sure thing.
The rest of this series might just be all about the home-ice advantage. My prediction: the Hawks win tonight and on Thursday, drop a game in Phoenix to the Coyotes, then bounce back after the loss to clinch the series.
So, sorry ladies and gents, but it looks like the men of Chicago and those that support them are going to be rocking the playoff beards a little while longer.