What is the #1 key for a Blackhawks victory tonight? Will a victory reposition them as the favorite to win the series?
Definitely. A win gives them home ice again. The stars have to have a great game for Chicago. That hasn't happened yet where all of the best players play great, especially Toews. If Chicago makes it 2-2, they're back in the driver's seat.
Barry, what do the kings have to do in order to get there somewhat sluggish offense going?
I think they just have to do what they do, which is attack the net, get some traffic. Wear San Jose down. That's what good teams do. It's a best of 3. LA has home ice. Now they have to revert back to the things they did at home.
Do you think Coach Q will shake up his lines in order to get Toews on track? If the Hawks have any aspirations about winning the Cup again, Captain Serious needs to return to form, agreed?
I don't think so. Chicago played well in Game 3. They had tons of chances, break aways. They had the goal disallowed. The lines are fine, they just have to get the star players going. Hossa. Sharp. Kane. Toews.
how do you see the long term goalie situation in pittsburgh shaking out? ride vokoun for another year, trade maf? rinne would look great in a pens sweater
If Vokoun stays in net had has a good playoffs, I think Fleury has to be moved. Two straight years he's struggled in the playoffs. It's hard to bring him back as the No. 1 considering the last two playoffs.
Barry, which opening (or maybe potential opening) woudl be the best fit for Lindy Ruff?
You've got the Avs. Phoenix. Vancouver. There are three jobs that could be open right there. I'll be surprised if he's not with another team.
If Detroit wins game 4, is the series over with the 7 seed taking out the 1 seed? Also, what do you believe the chances are of Detroit taking this game?
Yeah, this is a must win for Chicago. They haven't faced that all year. We'll find out alot about them tonight.
Are the Bruins that good, or are the Rangers are that bad?
Boston's that good. They're for real. They're playing a great style. Last night the fourth line was on the ice for the two goals. They're playing as good as anybody right now.
Do you agree with Sutter shuffling the deck for tonight's game? The Kings obviously haven't found their offensive stride thus far, but is there risk in lining up players who aren't used to playing together?
I think if you look at the forwards in LA, they've all played together at some point in the past. They had the injuries and lines were changed then. That's not a problem. They've been together for a few years now.
Do you feel Quenneville is being out coached by Babcock thus far in the series? (Not making the adjustments to open up the neutral zone, match ups, etc)
I don't think so. It's a case where Detroit is a good team. They're getting great goaltending from Howard. They're playing well. Chicago played well in Game 3. They were terrible in Game 2 but came back in Game 3. I haven't see any line matchups where Detroit has the five right guys on the ice and Chicago has the five wrong guys.
Mr. M. Do you think that too many people overlooked the significant amount of injuries that Detroit faced during the regular season and just assumed they were washed up? If you have the stat handy, I'd love to know exactly how many man-games they lost compared to everyone else. Now that everyone is healthy, the *real* Wings are playing and making the top dogs pay. Thoughts?
That's part of it. But they also struggled this year. There were times when they didn't look so good. But there were growing pains. That's a little bit new for Detroit. they're growing together as a team. Their defense struggled a lot this year with the young guys. Getting that solidified as the season went along.
If the Rangers get swept is it bye bye for Torts?
I don't know. I would probably say no. That will be interesting to watch. Things haven't worked the way they thought. Getting Nash was supposed to be the final piece. Richards is a healthy scratch tonight. That will be an interesting story.
Can the Pens sustain there 4 goal per game avg.?
No. That will change. If they play Boston in the next round, goals will be hard to come by. What they need is for their PP to be just as good. That's an area where they're the best in the NHL.
Is Joel Quenville's job in jeopardy if they get bounced by Detroit?
No. No. They won the President's trophy. They won the Cup a few years ago. I don't think he's in jeopardy at all.
Barry, before the series started I thought that Howard would have to get to a .930 or above save percentage for the Wings to have a chance of winning some games. He's sitting around .950 right now. Did you think that was possible?
Howard's had a great year. Even when the team struggled early in the year. Did I think he would stop Chicago the way he has? No. He's probably the most underrated goaltender of the playoffs so far.
Was Lucic waiting for the playoffs? He's really turned up his game.
It's funny how things change after he was a healthy scratch at the end of the year. That tends to get guys' attention. He's arguably the best power forward in the NHL. Lucic's change has probably corresponded with the play of the Bruins.
What is your opinion of SJ? What do they need to do in order to beat LA?
They're playing great. They have a great game plan right now. Their PP is better than the Kings. Niemi has been as good as Quick. Thornton has played as well as we've seen. Right now the Sharks are probably the biggest team up front as any and it's causing problems for the Kings.
Who is your prediction for tonight's game 4 winner? Chicago or Detroit?
I think Chicago will win. They'll come out flying. Toews will have a big game. The stars of Chicago will come out and score some big goals.
What adjustments can MacLean make for game 5?
Don't take any penalties, No. 1. Control Crosby, No. 2. It's going to be tough. Pittsburgh is getting better every game. The speed they play at is tough. They don't have the weapons that can counter what Pittsburgh is doing.
Hi Barry,How awesome is Datsyuk? That guy is mind-blowing! Do you think he wins the Selke?
I think he does. I think he's the best defensive forward in the NHL. The plays he makes. He does it night in, night out on the road.
What kind of message scratching Richards send to the Rangers' locker room?
It's a little bit of shock therapy. They're desperate. They need something to spark them. They've been beaten soundly three times. Richards has been a non factor. But it is a shock that your highest paid player is a healthy scratch at this point.
What do you make of the Morrow scratch last night?
I can't say I'm surprised. He has a lot of trouble keeping up with Pittsburgh. They're a very fast team and he just can't keep up. It's tough, but it worked. It made they a quicker club.
Barry Do you think the Bruins have a legit chance to win the cup ?? DO you think they can beat Pittsburgh?
Yeah, they can beat Pittsburgh. They're playing great right now. They control the puck and as long as you have it, it's out of the hands of Crosby and Malkin. Chara will play against Crosby every line, every shift.
At what point is Tortarella held responsible for the Rangers Power Play? It's abysmal and he continues to try the same approach.
The coach is always held responsible, that's why there are so many of them fired.
Hey Barry, there are some Pens fans upset with Letang's play these playoffs. Is there a cause for concern and do you think they should start handing more minutes to Martin as a result?
Letang had four assists last game. He's leading defensemen in points. It's costed them a couple of times when he's played the point, but he's special. You don't want to turn him into a defensive defenseman. There are plenty of those guys.
time to flip flop Jagr and Seguin?
I don't think so, because you haven't lost since you made the change. I know they aren't scoring, but they're both playing well. You never break up a winning lineup. Right now you have four lines playing well.
Will Tim Thomas ever play in the NHL again?
The Islanders own his rights. Timmy goes by the beat of a different drummer. He might wake up tomorrow and decide to play again. He doesn't do the same stuff as the other guys.
would you put Dastyuk in the top 5 forwards in the league? Also do you think Zetterberg is one of the most underrated forwards in the league?
I think they're both underrated. Datsyuk is definitely one of the top five forwards. He could increase his offensive total if he cheated a little bit. Zetterberg is great too.
Barry, what could have the rangers done differently against boston that may have yielded different results?
Lundqvist could have gotten shutouts. That's the only thing that could have changed the results.
How can the Pens do a better job defensively on the pp? Seems like they have fallen asleep twice in the past two games.
I wouldn't be surprised if they use Malkin on the point any more. They're good without him there. That's when you give up short handed goals. I think you'll see a change.
Barry, does the Penguins dominance over the Senators make what the Islanders did against the Penguins in the last series even more impressive to you?
The Islanders were impressive. I don't think anyone was saying they weren't. They're on the right track.
Do you really think the lack of "challenges" this season is why Chicago has looked the way they have this series?
We're going to find out about them tonight. They haven't faced any adversity. They've been so dominant. They have to win tonight. I'm sure Joel is wondering what will happen too.
We're going to have a great night of hockey. A lot of interesting storylines to talk about on SportsCenter!