After the first round of the NHL Playoffs, the defending Stanley Cup Champions have already been eliminated.
The Chicago Blackhawks lost to the St. Louis Blues on Monday night in an exhilarating game 7. The Blues were able to hold off the Hawks with a 3-2 win to clinch the series and knock off the defending champs. The Hawks wouldn’t go quietly as the game came down to last few seconds, but the Blues ultimately got the win.
Patrick Kane, who was the leagues leading point scorer ( first ever american leading points scorer ) racked up 7 points throughout the series ( 1 Goal, 6 Assists ) but it wasn’t enough to lift his team over the Blues.
With that loss, the Blackhawks blew their chances of being repeating Stanley Cup Champions, and add a 4th title in the last 7 seasons. The ’98 Red Wings maintain their title of being the last back-to-back champs, and the Hawks are just going to have to wait for next season for another title run.
Its not to discredit the Blues, as they were actually a higher seed ( St. Louis no. 2, Chicago no. 3 ) and technically were supposed to win the series. But, theres always high expectations for the defending champs, and unfortunately they couldn’t string it all together this year to advance.
The only question now is, “how good are the Blues?”
The Blackhawks may not have played to the same ability that they did last year, but they are definitely a powerhouse in the league. Its a tall task to have a winning record against such a great team, especially in the span of one single playoff series. So all of our attention now is on the Blues. They don’t have the best lineup, or the best record, but they clearly have the motivation and tenacity to beat elite teams.
The Blues face the Dallas Stars this Friday in game one of the second round of the playoffs. The Stars definitely proved themselves in the regular season, and are riding a good amount of momentum with a 5-4 win over the Wild in game 6. With the hopeful return of their star, Tyler Seguin, Dallas is a serious championship threat. They have a deep bench, a solid goalie, and a playmaking offense.
The next series is bound to be a good one, its a shame the defending champs won’t be in it.