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.
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.