Blackhawks

Blackhawks

1. Get Dubnyk doubting.

Devan Dubnyk is a huge reason why the Minnesota Wild are in the playoffs this year. He was named one of three finalists for the Vezina Trophy, along with Carey Price of Montreal and Pekka Rinne of Nashville. The Blackhawks made Rinne look pretty ordinary in his first-round exit with the Predators and now they have to do the same with Dubnyk.

[MORE: Scoring in bunches: Blackhawks have to tighten up]

Minnesota’s goalie did not look good in their 4-3 loss to Chicago a couple of nights ago. The Hawks scored on their first shot, which seemed to rattle Dubnyk, and he went on to allow 3 goals on the first 7 shots he faced in the contest. He is a shot blocker, which means he is positionally sound using his 6-foot-6 frame to shield most of his net. Rebounds were certainly an issue in Game 1, and although none of the goals scored were of the rebound variety, they were there to be had. Make sure you have bodies heading to the net whenever a shot is attempted.

2. Win the boards.

It was a key for me last game, and even more so now heading into Game 2. Minnesota is a team that wins a lot of battles along the boards. They have the size and speed up front to accomplish this, and even their smaller guys like Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund have the awareness and quickness to force turnovers deep in the Blackhawks' zone.

 

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Two of the Wild’s three goals came as a direct result of them forcing a turnover along the boards deep in the Hawks' end. It should be noted that Chicago’s game-winning goal came from Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith winning two separate board battles in the last minute of the second period on Teuvo Teravainen’s goal. Pay the price and play a grinding game along the boards.

3. Special teams need improvement.

The Blackhawks have only scored three power-play goals while giving up seven in the special teams department so far in the playoffs. In six of the seven games they've played, they have given up at least one power-play goal to the opposition.

The power play hasn’t fared much better, having gone just 1-16 in the last six games. That type of special teams play usually results in losses, but it has not cost the Hawks so far. Kills and strong power plays are momentum builders, especially at home, so take advantage of your special teams play. Would like to see more shots from the point when Chicago's up a man.