2010 NHL Playoffs: Critical Match-Ups for the Chicago Blackhawks Part II

Jeff HicksCorrespondent IMay 15, 2010

CHICAGO - MAY 24:  (L-R) Brent Seabrook #7 and Duncan Keith #2 of the Chicago Blackhawks look on dejected against the Detroit Red Wings during Game Four of the Western Conference Championship Round of the 2009 Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 24, 2009 at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

It has been a treat to watch two hockey players my age mature into a force on the blueline. I have been amazed at how two young defensemen have molded what has turned out to be one of the best defensive corps in hockey today.

And so has the NHL.

As members of Team Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics, they saw a line that would make any defensive pairing tremble. Dany Heatley, Patrick Marleau, and Joe Thornton teamed up as one of the best scoring line in the Olympics, and they by chance play together on the same line in San Jose.

Something's gotta give here, hockey fans.

The lack of playoff explosion from the Shark's best line have all but been put to bed after their second-round smack-down of Detroit. The disputable best top line has been hitting on all cylinders, and lead an explosive attack.

On the other hand, the Hawks best defensive combination has been able to shut down the likes of the Sedin Twins, Henrik Zetterberg, and Pavel Datsyuk in Detroit, and the best of the rest in the league on most nights. But one cannot forget their forgettable month of March. Will this be another open and shut(down) case for them?

This has to be a must watch in this all important series. Look for San Jose coach Todd McClellan and Chicago coach to avoid or try to match up with these tandems, respectively. Whichever comes out on top will give a needed advantage to their team in the quest for a spot to win the Stanley Cup.