Blackhawks-Blues: Round One Net Impact

Hawks Blues

With their sixth straight defeat – and second consecutive shutout loss – the St. Louis Blues backed into second place in the Central Division and a first round match-up with the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

On March 12, the Central Division standings looked like this:

March 12 standings

Most, at that time, assumed the Hawks would face the Colorado Avalanche in the first round. Indeed, many writers undoubtedly did research up until the last week for a series preview because there was “no question” the Hawks would face the Avs to open their title defense.

But things change. And one month after those standings, the picture is dramatically different at the top.

Colorado is your division champion, and the Hawks finished third.

St. Louis is coming off their worst stretch of hockey this season, scoring only five goals in their six consecutive losses to close the regular season. They were shutout three times in those six games, and Ryan Miller was in net for five of the six.

Ryan Miller

When Miller was acquired from Buffalo, fans outside St. Louis were split about the impact he would have. Everyone respects what Miller has done in his career, but recent struggles in Buffalo were being blamed as much on the mediocre (read: bad) players in front of him as they were on Miller himself.

Moving to a “strong defensive team” in St. Louis would improve his numbers, right?

With Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Detroit in the books, Miller’s season ended with the results being less than what many had hoped for and, frankly, expected. He posted a 10-8-1 record in 19 appearances for the Blues with a .903 save percentage and 2.47 goals against average.

By comparison, Corey Crawford has a 10-7-0 record with a .918 save percentage and 2.05 goals against average since the Olympics.

Miller has actually appeared in more career playoff games (47) than Crawford (37), and has performed well in those opportunities. In his postseason career, Miller has a .917 save percentage (all with Buffalo).

However, the 33-year-old netminder hasn’t been in the playoffs since 2011, and hasn’t been into the second round since 2007.

Crawford, meanwhile, has a better career postseason save percentage (.924) than Miller and has an 18-11 record in the two postseasons since Miller last appeared in the playoffs.

Glen Hall played in the Stanley Cup Final for both franchises, but only one of Miller or Crawford will advance to the second round. Which goalie will lead his team to victory?

We’ll find out beginning Thursday night.

Crawford

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6 Responses to Blackhawks-Blues: Round One Net Impact

  1. Claude Crane says:

    They’re overrated. We’re the better team, and it will show over the course of the series. Hawks win.

  2. Ernie says:

    Someone a few weeks ago compared the Blues to the Bulls. Max effort in regular season, gassed come playoffs. Since then, they have been decimated by injuries, and the Hawks have their confidence back after a couple of decisive wins.

  3. scottie p says:

    What’s the status of backes oshie tarasenko?

  4. ebonyraptor says:

    Last reports I saw most of the injured players returning to start the playoffs – only Tarasenko, Berglund and Morrow are still supposed to be out when the playoffs start.

    The Blues didn’t get the record they have by smoke and mirrors – they showed they are a very good team. The struggles they’ve been having won’t go on indefinately, they are too good of a team. All they may need is a puck to bounce their way to get their confidence back and then watch out.

    This is a strange series because if the Hawks can come out playing well and keep them doubting, the series could be over in short order. But if the Blues get their confidence back the series could go 7 games with both teams too exhausted to be at full speed for the second round.

    Getting a win in the first game will be huge in setting the tone. The Blues are fragile right now – don’t give them any hope.

  5. SouthSideHawkMan says:

    Tarasanko is out, Backes is in and Oshie is questionable

    Hawks in 6!

  6. RedTopParking says:

    Ebony you are exactly right about St. Louis. We must kick them now while they’re down, step on their necks and not let up. If we don’t pounce hard on this team while they’re still staggering from epic late season collapse they could rediscover their game and then it’s a long series. A 5 game Hawks win or even a sweep is more than a possibility right here, right now. CO will not have as easy a time w/ the Wild as they may presume. MN will fight hard, and though they may not prevail, I believe they’ll take some vinegar out of the Avs. LA/SJ will be a war. The Blackhawks have a path to the finals, if we can get there we will win it. And if Boston gets upset there’s absolutely no doubt. We cream any other eastern team and that goes for overrated Pittsburgh especially.

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