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Playoff Preview: Who Will Follow The Leaders?

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Playoff Preview: Who Will Follow The Leaders?

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CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 10: Michael Frolik #67 of the Chicago Blackhawks is congratulated by teammates Ben Smith #57 and Patrick Kane #88 after scoring a goal in the 2nd period against the Detroit Red Wings at the United Center on April 10, 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Michael Frolik;Ben Smith;Patrick Kane

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As we roll along here on this ship of love, the next burning question about the Hawks series with the Canucks is will they get scoring from anywhere else besides the top line and Patrick Kane?

In the series past, the Hawks were able to torpedo Vancouver because they simply could hurt them at any time.

Two years ago it was Dave Bolland and Andrew Ladd on the third line making their mark, until Patrick Kane went nuts in Game 6.

Adam Burish also chipped in a huge goal that game from the fourth line.

Last year, Kris Versteeg was on the third line and he netted the winner in Game 2 and opened the scoring in Game 3. Tomas Kopecky also got one in Game 4, as did Troy Brouwer in the clinching Game 6.

This season, the Hawks will not survive if only their top four point producers -- Sharp, Toews, Kane, and Hossa -- do all the scoring.

Most likely, Toews and Hossa (If they remain on the same line) will be used to combat the Sedin twins, until Dave Bolland's music blares in the arena and he comes walking down the tunnel to the ring. They're going to have their hands full just keeping the Sedins from scoring, so they won't be pouring it in at the other end.

Who could it be? You could argue Viktor Stalberg, who'll be making his playoff debut and his combination of size and lethal speed is hard for any defense to deal with when Vik keeps it between the lines.

But being in this amped up atmosphere and his lack of being physical will really hurt him here, as in the playoffs space to show off that speed is scarce and you have to fight for all those inches that Al Pacino told us about in Any Given Sunday.

Michael Frolik? Could be. He's really clicked with Patrick Kane and Ben Smith, and when paired with a playmaker like Kane his game is much better suited to just finding areas to shoot from than trying to create on his own.

But again, his playoff debut and his diminuitive size is going to be trouble against a pretty hulking Canucks defense and forwards.

Ben Smith? Awful lot to ask of a guy who has six NHL games under his belt.

Bryan Bickell? You see the frame and you think if he could just replicate what Dustin Byfuglien did last year, things could swing the Hawks way. But Bickell isn't as strong on his skates and shows all the desire to engage physically as children do to vegetables. And with his below average skating he can't get there in time anyway.

Troy Brouwer should return, and the Hawks will need him to be the Brouwer we saw when skating on the top line while not actually skating on the top line. His revival during the playoffs last year started with that goal in Game 6 in Vancouver, and perhaps that sparks him again. But the Hawks are going to have to find someone to chip in from the bottom six, and they haven't all year.

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