Honestly I think St. Louis might be our best bet. It's a division rival so you know the Hawks will show up to play (in theory) and we've been able to frustrate them in the past like we did to Vancouver. I also believe Chicago is the more skilled team between the two.
1. Phoenix (Haven't got out of 1st round the past 2 years)
2. St. Louis (Meh, I ain't scurred)
3. San Jose (Niemi kills us so not sure I like it like most do)
4. Vancouver (Went to 7 games last year, beat them the two years before)
5. Detroit (I'd want to face them later when beaten up)
6. Nashville (I don't like how we match up and I think they are destined to go far)
I think we'd gave the easiest first round against:
I feel like STL and NSH are just made for beating teams like ours.... they bring the tough defensive play every game, and have great goaltending to boot. I hope we never see anyone from Central this playoffs, if at all possible.
Ideally, whoever wins the Pacific division is my preferred opponent for the Hawks. They dominated San Jose in three of the meetings. Honestly, the 9-game slide could have ended early in San Jose, because the Sharks didn't really play well enough to win that game either.
Phoenix has had some success against the Hawks this year but I just don't see them winning 4 out of 7 against Chicago. Aren't any shootouts in the playoffs, and Mike Smith is a giant question mark when the pressure is upped. Much like St. Louis, I don't see them having the scoring to really do any damage in the playoffs. They've been knocked off two years in a row in the first round. I can certainly see that happening again.
Dallas, ha. Would love a series with them.
Ultimately the Hawks are probably putting themselves in the best position if they grab the 6th seed, as opposed to jumping up to 5th or falling to 7th.
Bet if you put this list to the other seven teams most of them would say "Chicago". Captain gone with concussion, goaltending off the deepend, no team confidence either direction... I'd be drooling to play a team like that.
I'm not 100% on our ability to take Vancouver, but I at least know our team hates getting dongwhipped by them, so sooner or later, the Hawks would show up to that series. Can't really be as sure about the other ones.
Dont want Phoenix at all. A team that capitalizes on mistakes versus a team that makes a ton of mistakes. Who so you think wins that one?