Konroyd’s Keys for Blackhawks win: Be ready for Lightning strike


Konroyd’s Keys for Blackhawks win: Be ready for Lightning strike

1. Lightning is gonna strike - so be ready. The Blackhawks were very fortunate to be down by just 1 goal after 2 periods of play on Wednesday night. Outskated, outplayed, outchecked and outhustled, it was only the excellent goaltending of Corey Crawford that kept them within striking distance in this game.  Expect the same kind of start from Tampa tonight. They will get pucks deep and come at the defensemen with speed. I liked the adjustment the Hawks made “in game” by looking for the centerman up the middle. Tampa’s pinching D created havoc early, and expect them to be a big part of the forecheck again. Get back quickly, fake passes up the boards and look to the middle, and rely on Crawford to direct traffic and make the odd breakout pass himself.

[MORE GAME 2: TVR waits, Bryan Bickell heals for Blackhawks]

2. Teuvo Time. Consider yourself lucky Blackhawks fans. You are witnessing the growth of a great hockey player right before your eyes. Sent to the minors to start the year to get more seasoning, Teuvo Teravainen has been in and out of the lineup since the beginning of 2015. He’s even been in and out of the lineup in these playoffs on two separate occasions. But he may have lengthened his leash with the performance he’s provided these last few games. Yes, he has skill and speed and an offensive awareness that few players possess. But he is also very good at stealing pucks and creating turnovers with his quick stick and intelligence. On the game winning goal on Wednesday, Teuvo realized that the forechecking pressure of Patrick Sharp was going to produce a quick pass. He was in J.T. Brown’s face before the pass got there, and deftly poked it to a wide open Antoine Vermette for the game-tying goal. Teravainen’s confidence is peaking at just the right time.

[NBC SPORTS SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

3. Killorn was a killer. I mentioned prior to last game that the line that had me worried was the Steven Stamkos, Valtteri Filppula, Alex Killorn trio. Killorn was very effective that night with not only the lone Lightning goal, but also five of Tampa’s 23 shots on net. Throw in the fact that this guy has five goals in his last seven games and you have a player that is trending upwards. He’s got good size at 6 feet 2 inches tall, and isn’t afraid of going hard to the net. While everyone is trying to take away Stamkos, one of the best shooters in the NHL, Killorn finds those seams and always is available. Keep an eye on Killorn and the rest of this line.

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: