The Action Is Go – Game 6 – Ducks vs Hawks Preview, Pregame Thread, OSHA Inspection

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Game Time: 7:00PM Central
Prison Bound: Anaheim Calling, Battle of California

Because seemingly nothing can ever be simple or straightforward with this iteration of the Hawks, they now find themselves in an unfamiliar situation under Joel Quenneville: being forced to win a Game 6 at home in order to force a Game 7 after tying the series at 2-2 on Saturday. And in their way remain the Anaheim Ducks, who are looking to punch their ticket to the Cup final while keeping themselves undefeated in regulation this post season.

Though the Ducks emerged victorious after a short overtime frame on Monday night, the longer this series has progressed, the more cracks in the facade have come into sharper relief. The once-impenetrable Frederik Andersen has now allowed 9 goals in his past two games, with his save percentage dipping 33 points from .957 to .924 since before Game 4. Particularly egregious was the goal he allowed to tie the game late in regulation from a less-than-zero angle from the corner. That said, he is still plenty athletic enough and capable of robbing the Hawks blind as he did in the early goings of the series. The only consistent way to solve any goaltender is with a volume of shots against thereby forcing him to have to make save after repeated save.

On the Ducks’ blue line, things have also started to bow under the pressure of continued zone entries by the Blackhawk forwards. After three straight games of having a 50% or better of shot attempts, Simon Depres has turned in two straight games of 31% and and 36%, with parner Cam Fowler not doing much better. The pairing of Stoner/Vatanen is a known tire fire particularly on the road, which leaves only the de facto top unit of Beauchemin and Linholm to get any drive for the Ducks from the back end. And even then, most of that has been bouyed by the subtly excellent and effecient Lindholm, as Frechie’s age and sluggishness are put on full display any time a Hawk forward hits the line with any kind of speed.

In front, Captain Kappa Alpha Scro Dog has continued to pile up the assists while mostly surfing on PDO, with the team shooting nearly 10% with Getzlaf on the ice and Andersen stopping just shy of 96% of the shots he’s faced at evens. Getzlaf has mostly seen an injured Marcus Kruger across from him and he’s been played mostly to a draw in terms of possession (51%), but it could be argued that a player of Getzlaf’s skill is going to create more dangerous opportunities for himself and his teammates, namely his chief scumbag cohort Corey Perry. The key for the Ducks’ success has been Ryan Kesler, as they’d hoped he’d be when they made the trade for him last summer, as he’s been just dangerous enough that the Hawks cannot afford to get Jonathan Toews away from him even on home ice. But given the stakes of tonight’s game, that might be a chance the Hawks have to take.

As for our Men of Four Feathers, it appears that the plug has finally been pulled on Kimmo Timonen, with David Rundblad seemingly destined to return to the lineup tonight. While everyone’s favorite Ken Doll on skates had an extremely rough go of it in Game 1, that was without the benefit of having last change. That last change also gives Quenneville the benefit of hiding both Cumiskey and Runblad with their respective babysitters, and gets each on their proper side to be able to pass and clear pucks on the forehand.

The latter part of that will be what’s important, as the Hawks were completely reckless with the puck at both their own and the Ducks’ blue line, which allows a skilled team such as theirs to be opportunistic and most times puts the puck in the back of the net. Corey Crawford has been as equally wobbly as Andersen over the past two games but he has the advantage of the team in front of him carrying the play, and the Hawks don’t need him as a result as much as the Ducks need Andersen.

The more time that these two teams play, the more it benefits the Hawks, now more obviously than ever. But they’re going to need to start cashing in on their opportunities if this is going to go get to a Game 7. They have the talent and the experience to do it. It doesn’t have to end tonight, and it won’t. Not tonight. Not this team. Let’s go Hawks.

If you’re heading to the game tonight, make sure to pick up a copy for our gameday program outside the UC. We’re outside Gates 2 and 3 on Madison, as well as on the south side of the UC on Wood and Monroe, as well as Damen and Monroe. If you’re not going, you can get the digital version right here.

  • TitanTransistor

    I wish I was more optimistic about tonight’s game. I have this terrible, guttural feeling that we’re going to be on the wrong side of a blowout. 🙁

    Would be cool for Kane or Hossa to show up at potentially the last home game of the season.

    • Jim

      Unfortunately, I’m with you on this one. I’m not optimistic. The Hawks are having a lot of trouble with the Duck’s forecheck. And the Ducks have been annoyingly opportunistic on every Hawk’s hiccup. I’m still not over the 45 second overtime.

      I’ll be happy to be wrong on this, though. It would be nice to build a 2-3 goal lead, and then *HOLD THE FRIGGIN LEAD FOR MORE THAN 1 MINUTE!*

      Edit: I have the same feeling I had after the Bartman game. Remember there was another game the next day. Hope I’m wrong…

      • Come on man. Need some optimism here…

        • Jim

          Plenty to be optimistic about, with Toews, Kane, Keith, Seabrook, TT, and the gang, they no doubt have the superior talent. And nobody in the NHL can match Toew’s will to win. Plus, there is no more icy cold killer in critical big stage moments than Kane.

          May Chelsea Dagger be played repeatedly at the UC tonight!

          • Today reminds of that feeling before game 5 against Detroit down 3-1. Also, going into the 3rd period of game 6 against Detroit after Crow gave up that horrible goal.

            Start will obviously be key. Would be ideal if Hawks would get the first goal (and the 2nd, 3rd, etc).

      • SuperHawk27

        How many times have you had this ‘feeling’? I hope you’re wrong too.

        • WookRN

          Every game. That way the Times it happens, he can have been “right”.

      • HawkIPA

        Completely disagree. The Hawks broke through in Game 5, even though Bickell/puck luck coughed it up in OT. I think we see a complete effort tonight. My gutteral feeling says we run them out of the building, but I’ll be happy with any win we can get.

      • LongJon

        I think that one of the main reasons the the hawks have had trouble with the ducks forecheck is due to having 44 on the ice he forced the other d men to play on their off sides having to try and back hand the puck out of the zone. Tonight WILL be different

    • Sopel the catfish

      These are the feelings I have (not directed at you, mind you, no offense intended)
      Nothing more than feelings
      Trying to forget my
      Feelings of hate

      Beating on your face
      Trying to forget my
      Feelings of hate

      For all my life i’ll feel it
      I wish I’d never met you
      You’ll make me sick again

      Feelings, oh oh feelings
      Of hate on my mind

      Feelings like I never liked you
      Feelings like I want to kill you
      Live in my heart

      Feelings like I wanna deck you
      Feelings like I’ve gotta get you
      Out of my life

      Feelings, oh oh feelings
      The hate’s in my eyes

      Feelings, oh oh feelings
      You’re not very nice

      • KoalaKowalski

        Feeeeeeeelings feeeeeeeeeliiiiiiiings. They’re not very nice. GO!

  • Said it earlier, I’ll say it again! Just get it to Saturday.

    I would not be surprised to see Seabrook/Keith and Hammer/Oduya pretty much most of the 3rd with an occasional spot of Cuminsky/Rundblad.

    Ideally, we get a result like last night. I mean we deserve to see back to back game 7’s right?

  • Dude, c’mon. You know better. Edit the sexism in this post in the second sentence or you’ll not be welcome here anymore.

  • Harry Longwood

    I don’t have anything to add, but wanted an excuse to further circulate this masterpiece:

    • wardrums

      That is funny, “Let the lottle hockey players come…”

    • The captain is my shepherd…

  • HawkIPA

    Periods 2 and 3 yesterday were just the beginning. I see the Hawks coming out firing, and keeping it up for a full 60. I think the Hawks came out of Game 5 confident, even in the loss. This team will not go down quietly, and they will not go down tonight.

  • Hags

    Not today.

  • One thought I had is why not switch Saad and Bickell. Saad and Kane wrecked shop last year and that might give the 2nd line the push Bickell was supposed to provided. Bickell on the top line can give Hossa and Toews even more space to operate in.

    • LongJon

      the thought of putting bicks on the 2nd line was to clear space for kane to go to work. and this has not happened. I would not change the 1st line let alone put 29 on it

    • HawkIPA

      I’d like to see some Shaw on the 2nd line. A little presence in the crease would do wonders for Richards and Kane.

      • 3rd/4th lines have been good wouldn’t touch them at the moment…

      • CurvedBlade

        I also would not change the 1st, 3rd or 4th lines.

        Playoff Bickell apparently retired last year. He has done nothing except give up possession and slow down Kane and Richards. I would rather see Carcillo. He is smart enough not to get penalties in the playoffs.

    • WookRN

      Right! (This has been kicked around this message board most of this series, you’re not alone…)

    • margincall

      and everyone forgets including the most important one, how utterly dominant Kane,Saad, Shaw were against the Kings last year. Oh well too late.

    • Lionel Hutz

      Only thing I might do is double shift Kane in place if Sharp on the third line.

  • Sopel the catfish

    Previous game Golden Monkey did not fulfill it’s obligation, tonight will see the return of Seabrook’s 7; Seagrams 7 whiskey and root beer. It is delicious, it is dangerous, and it will empower #7 to bring us to a game 7 after the 7th period of OT this series will see (the OT tonight will be 7th OT period FYI).

    • HawkIPA

      I’m going with a Chicago brew. Slim pickings out here in Boston, but Goose Island IPA will have to do, with Bourbon County Stout in reserve for OT.

      • WookRN

        I’ll be in the ICU, drinking Dr. Pepper. HOWEVER, I have a winter classic sweater I years ago designated as my hospital sweater, so there’s that….

  • Aaeismacgychel

    I’m nervous but not as worried as one would think. All we have to do is go out and play hockey today. Just like I felt in the Detroit series when we were down 3-2 I thought Game 6 is the tough one. We win this one and Game 7 will write itself. The Ducks were moments away from a Canuckian-level implosion in Game 5 and let them off the hook. Their sanity is held together by brittle rubber bands and frayed worn through cloth. Go out there and pressure them all night. Make them think about their Game 7 for 3 long days and nights, make them think they still are in control of the series, and then knock their lights the frak out. Win tonight and we’ll win Game 7. Just win tonight.

    • CurvedBlade

      Let’s at least be honest. The reason everyone is nervous is WE are the team that looks emotionally fragile. This season was mediocre. We never knew if our guys were going to show up for a game. This inconsistency has carried over into the playoffs. Look at all the meltdowns that resulted in bursts of 3 goals against. I think the stat is 7 periods of 3 goals against. Just in the playoffs.

      We know what this team is capable of. Let’s hope we have 3 full periods of solid hockey today. You can only dig your way out of deep holes so many times.

      • harshboy

        Perfectly said. My thoughts exactly. Jekyll and Hyde this season. Let’s hope they bring it. And if they do, they are unbeatable. Notice on the game winning score br beleskey they don’t show the Bickell fuck up but show Kaner slash the boards in disgust. Interesting. Like they want to protect Bickell for trade bait.

  • wardrums

    Vatanen and Stoner a tire fire – that was precious.

  • Icdws

    A regulation win against these ducks would be nice. I’m anxious as hell swaying from over confidence to bulls style collapse. I’m going with our guys. 3-1 tonight 2-0 on Saturday. Crow earns his stripes.

  • Sparky_The_Bard-barian

    This team is never more dangerous than when they think they have something to prove.

  • Ned Braden

    Dear god, if you help us snag another Cup, I promise to construct several churches in your honor.