Konroyd's keys for Game 6: Blackhawks need dominating start


Konroyd's keys for Game 6: Blackhawks need dominating start

1. Dominating start. One thing has held true throughout this round, and almost all of the playoffs: the team that has scored first has gone on to win the game. On a larger scale, Anaheim is 7-0 and Chicago 7-1 when they hit the score sheet first in this postseason. A good start brings a lot to the table for the Blackhawks – it get’s you energized and feeling good about your game, it gets the fans and their energy into the contest, and it gets the opposition on their heels. In the last contest, the Blackhawks had maybe their worst start of the playoffs this year. Coach Joel Quenneville blamed it on being stationary and not getting pucks out. Get your legs moving and passing game in gear and make sure you are pushing the pace against the Ducks.

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2. Break the drought. Three key players in recent playoff success for the Blackhawks have been relatively quiet on the goal scoring front of late. Patrick Sharp has been very noticeable with three helpers in his last two games, but has yet to score against Anaheim. He has 18 shots on Frederik Andersen in this series. Marian Hossa has one goal against the Ducks, a goal that was put in accidentally by an Anaheim defender. He has 16 shots in the series. Maybe the biggest disappointment so far has been the play of power forward Bryan Bickell. He has yet to score in the postseason and has just seven shots in this series. He leads the way in hits, but is at his best when he combines his physicality with a goal scoring touch. 

3. You’ve planted the seed…now make it rain with shots. I mentioned in my keys to the last game that you had gotten into the head of Freddy Andersen by putting five goals past him in a 5-4 OT win at the UC on Saturday. This carries a little more weight today judging by the way Andersen played in Anaheim on Monday. Yes, he won the game, but almost gave away a two-goal lead with less that two minutes to play. Two of the four goals scored on him were of the ugly variety, and it would be in the best interest of all the Hawks to shoot whenever given the opportunity. Chicago took over 16 minutes to get their first shot on goal in Anaheim in the last game. That can’t happen tonight.

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: