Konroyd's keys for Blackhawks-Ducks Game 3


Konroyd's keys for Blackhawks-Ducks Game 3

1. Strong Start

There will be some tired bodies - from both teams - on the ice tonight when the Blackhawks face the Ducks at the United Center. Anaheim had won six straight home playoff games prior to losing to Chicago in Tuesday night's epic battle. Home ice means a lot to both of these teams, as Chicago is still undefeated at home in the post season, and the 22,000 fans who pack the UC tonight will provide some much needed energy for the local heroes. The Ducks played very well in the OT loss, and some feel maybe should have won the game with the number of Grade A chances they had. That’s why tonight they may be feeling a little more tired than the home team. It’s one thing to play over 116 minutes and win the game. It’s another animal altogether to be on the losing end. For the Blackhawks, use the crowd for energy, get your legs moving, score the first goal and get the Ducks feeling tired. 

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2. Strong Kills

The Hawks have killed eight straight penalties against the Ducks, who have one of the best power plays in this post season. After going 9-of-27 in their first two series, they have come up empty against a very aggressive Chicago kill. The Blackhawks allowed just six Anaheim shots in their five kills last game and did a wonderful job of blocking shots, pressuring the puck, breaking up plays and getting 200 foot clears. Seems that refs are calling a lot more penalties here in the third round, so try to stay out of the box, and continue the aggressive play when playing short-handed. 

3. Strong minutes from Kyle Cumiskey

Kyle Cumiskey played his first playoff game as a member of the Blackhawks on Tuesday, and his first since 2010. I thought he did a great job, showing quickness and speed in his game and making a good first pass to get pucks out of his end. Talk about getting thrown into the fire. His last regular season game with the Blackhawks was Feb. 27 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The intensity of the playoffs is nothing compared to the regular season and Cumiskey will be ready for that now. After the game, head coach Joel Quenneville said Cumiskey’s game was “fine.”  I think after watching the game again on the plane home from Anaheim, he’ll realize that Cumiskey was better than “fine” and will trust him with more minutes.   

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

NBC Sports Chicago

Three Things to Watch: Blackhawks collide with Senators

Here are Three Things to Watch when the Blackhawks take on the Ottawa Senators tonight on NBC Sports Chicago and streaming live on the NBC Sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live.

1. Trade chips.

The Blackhawks have reached the point in their season where they have no choice but to become sellers before the Feb. 26 deadline, and we saw that when they traded Michal Kempny to the Washington Capitals on Monday for a conditional third-round pick in 2018. Tommy Wingels could also be an attractive piece for a team looking to fill out their depth.

The Senators will definitely be sellers, and wow do they have some names potentially on the market that can fetch large returns: Derrick Brassard and Mike Hoffman are two players who log top-six minutes on a nightly basis and also have term left on their contract, which is great for teams looking to load up for this year and beyond.

The biggest name to watch, probably in the league altogether, is Erik Karlsson, who could be on the move if a team offers a big enough package for the Senators to pull the trigger now as opposed to in the offseason if they feel him re-signing is a long shot. He was the best defenseman last season, and if a team steps up to get him, they're getting two possible postseason runs out of him.

2. Artem Anisimov's experiment at left wing not working.

Joel Quenneville has tried rekindling the magic between Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz and Patrick Kane as of late, only this time Anisimov is playing the wing and it just hasn't been very effective. The trio was on the ice for each of the two 5-on-5 goals the Kings scored on Monday, and Anisimov completely lost his man on the first one.

It's important to establish a consistent left winger for Schmaltz and Kane, and maybe putting Alex DeBrincat up there is something you consider going forward as part of a long-term solution. Move Anisimov back down as the third-line center to play in more of a defensive role and continue using his big body on power plays for his offensive abilities might be the best bet.

3. Win the special teams battle.

In their last meeting against Ottawa on Jan. 9, the Blackhawks went 4-for-6 on the power play and 4-on-4 on the penalty kill in an 8-2 win. And those are two areas to look out for again.

The Senators own the 28th-ranked power play with a 16.1 percent success rate and 29th-ranked penalty kill with a 74.5 percent success rate. Get ready for another offensive outburst?

Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?


Podcast: Which Blackhawks could be on the move before trade deadline?

On the latest Blackhawks Talk Podcast, Adam Burish and Pat Boyle discuss which Blackhawks could be on the trading block and what players are building blocks for the Hawks future.

Burish also shares a couple memorable trade deadline days and his “near” return to the Blackhawks in 2012. Plus, he makes his bold trade deadline prediction for the Hawks.

Listen to the full Blackhawks Talk Podcast right here: