Thoughts from a Blackhawks Victory

Jeff HicksCorrespondent IMay 17, 2010

VANCOUVER, CANADA - MAY 11:  Brent Sopel #5 congratulates goalie Antti Niemi #31 of the Chicago Blackhawks after defeating the Vancouver Canucks in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals to win the series 4-2 during the 2010 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs on May 11, 2010 at General Motors Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Rich Lam/Getty Images

Yesterday's Game 1 victory, fair-weathered and die-hard fans a great first game, and a lot of high hopes for a high-powered series with handfuls of intense moments.

A lot had been shown in just that one game, and should give hints as to what to expect in the next few games.

The biggest story is arguably Antti Niemi's performance. His 44 saves were a playoff career high, and at times he kept the Chicago Blackhawks in the game. Any sort of resemblance in play in Game 2 can spell disaster for San Jose.

Sharks' goalie Evegeni Nabokov did not play horribly, but it can be said the two goals against were stoppable. I expect to see Nabokov play much better before he plays worse again.

The San Jose Sharks came out firing on all cylinders, and appeared at times to show rust. For the most part, it seems like coach Todd McClellan got his guys into gear despite 10 days off.

The scheduling for this series could be costly for both teams. With over a full day off before Game 2, and more than two days off before Game 3 Friday, rest could be the enemy. The typical one day off usually keeps players ready for action and still affords enough rest.

NBC and TSN analyst Pierre McGuire continues to show how much of an idiot he is. Commenting on San Jose's forward depth, McGuire said, and I paraphrase, San Jose is more than capable of playing with depth not being an issue.

What?! That has been their issue against elite teams, and as far as I know, they haven't added any amazing players to continually compete with Chicago. The day McGuire quits being a bum and hating the Blackhawks is the day the NHL is a better place.

The 5-0 advantage in power play chances for San Jose continues to show the lack of excellence in officiating this playoff season. I won't dispute the calls against Chicago, but I will dispute the missed calls against San Jose. Kris Versteeg has been known to show his angst about not getting a call, but he finally had two gripes worthy of calls. This series cannot be one where home ice advantages are given by the officiating.

Secondary scoring will be the end of San Jose. Jason Demers scored, which is nice, but if it wasn't for some good screens, who knows if the Sharks score. Chicago's Patrick Sharp and Dustin Byfuglien continued to show thier depth with two goals that were not from their big three.

Game 2 is tomorrow. Let's see if any of these observations carry over. If they do, I think it will be obvious what the outcome will be.